Planning and preparedness for winter is a year-round activity. Below are suggestions of key actions for each month that will help prepare organisations and staff for winter. The calendar includes information on resources within this toolkit that will help save time and money, as well as key dates throughout the year.
NOVEMBER – Winter is here!
Winter is upon us so it is time to do a double check that your organisation and staff are ready to support those most at risk from the cold weather and that all your messages and communication tools are in place. Can you and your staff spot the signs of a cold home and know the key messages and advice to give? The toolkit contains a key communications pack which can be used for messages to the public, staff and media as well as the templates for posters, leaflets and factsheets which include:
- Spotting the signs of a cold home
- Cold and health – myth busters
- Keeping warm in winter
- Who can help - help with your home and benefits
There is also a media pack to help get buy-in and support from local newspapers and radio. November brings some good opportunities to link up with the media and some national campaigns and activities to get the ‘keep warm –keep well’ message over. Check out NEA’s Warm Homes Week; on the National Energy Action website.
The Met Office alerts are staring now – are you signed up? Visit the met office here.
DECEMBER – Seasons Greetings!
Last year over 2000 people died in Yorkshire and the Humber in the winter months. Many of these deaths can be linked to illnesses caused by being too cold in their own homes. Christmas can be a lonely and depressing time for those living alone and cold. Ensure people are getting the help they need by giving them and front line staff the information they need to get help in your area. Use the factsheets, referral templates and leaflets in the toolkit to give a helping hand this Christmas.
Have you got a local Cold Weather Plan? The National Cold Weather Plan for England is available here.
JANUARY – It’s not over yet!
It’s a new year but winter is still with us and for those most at risk, there are a few dangerous months of cold weather ahead. Did you know…a peak of excess winter deaths has often been seen in March?
Take a New Year look at your plans:
- How are things going – what is working well…and what isn’t?
- Has your organisation and staff got the resources they need to help keep people warm and well?
Can you work with partners and local media to get the messages out there?:
- Cold and health
- Keeping warm in winter
- Who can help
Use the resources in the toolkit to help you plan and prepare for the coming months
FEBRUARY – Don’t let winter take its toll
The long winter months can have a devastating effect on those most at risk from cold. Excess winter deaths can peak in March so now is the time to ensure you are doing all you can to keep those most at risk safe from the cold.
Ensure staff are kept informed and up-to-date and have the resources they need to give information and advice.
The dreaded end of year is approaching and it is time to start thinking about planning for next winter. Make sure you take stock of your plans and learn from this year. What will you need to tackle next winter? Get feedback from staff and colleagues and get partners around the table to evaluate how things went.
MARCH – It’s budget time!
The 31st of March sees the end of the Met Office’s Cold Weather Alert System as the threat of severe cold weather is passing. However, temperatures may still be very low and those who are most at risk can still be in danger.
Use the coming months to learn from your experiences to plan and prepare for next winter; it will be here again sooner than you think!