Cold Weather Guidance

Be prepared - common sense seasonal precautions

We all hope that winter weather is not too harsh, however, if it is there are some simple steps you can follow to try and minimise any effect it has on you. Even before the cold weather sets in, there are some actions you can plan for you and your family's safety. Above all the message is to listen to and follow any advice given by the emergency services.

The best way to get through winter is to keep warm and to follow as healthy a lifestyle as possible - for instance:

  • A balanced diet will help keep you warm and healthy in the winter.
  • Wearing the right kind of clothes can help keep you much warmer.
  • Staying active is good for your health, walking for example can be beneficial.

The Department of Health has issued a guide Keep Warm - Keep Well which offers advice on how to keep yourself warm. The leaflet also includes details on a number of key organisations offering practical solutions; financial assistance and safety advice.

More advice about keeping your home warm is available on our Home Energy Advice Service webpage.

Top Tips for Staying Healthy in Winter

1. Get your flu jab if you are aged 65 or over, pregnant, have certain medical conditions, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person. Ask your health or social care provider about staying healthy in winter and make sure you have sufficient medication if winter weather is forecast.

2. Keep warm. Maintain your heating to the right temperature, between 18°C/65°F (bedroom) and 21°C/70°F (dayroom), so you can keep warm and keep your bills as low as possible. Use room thermostats or other heating controls if you have them. Have a room thermometer so you can monitor the temperature indoors.

3. Look after yourself and check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they are safe, warm and well. Layer your clothing and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside.

4. Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.

5. Get financial support. There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It's worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to and to access these before the winter sets in.

6. Have your heating and cooking appliances checked. Carbon monoxide is a killer. Make sure that flues and chimneys are swept and checked for blockages and ventilation points are not blocked. If you are not connected to gas or electricity mains, and use heating oil, LPG or wood products as the main heating source, make sure that you have sufficient supply to avoid running out in winter. You should also fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm which is EN 50291 compliant, but fitting an alarm should not replace regular maintenance of appliances.

Before the onset of cold weather:

  • Check that your home is adequately insured and that everything that you want to be covered is covered.
  • Make sure your property is in good order.
  • Learn how and where to turn off your water, electricity and gas supplies.
  • Collect and maintain the following 'home emergency pack'.

Home emergency pack

Try to keep enough of the following in your house to last all of you at least two days at all times:

Suggested list

  • Lighting (torch/candles) and spare source of power, for example, batteries
  • Cooking equipment including tin opener, utensils and cutlery.
  • Drink, for example, cans of juice, bottled water.
  • Long life food (check use-by dates and refresh supplies regularly).
  • Portable radio and spare batteries.
  • Blankets.
  • Dry clothing.
  • Medication including baby items.

If you discover or experience an emergency situation, dial 999

When you dial 999 the first person to answer will be an operator who will ask what emergency service you require. They will ask for your telephone number because, if your line is cut or you are unable to continue the call, the operator can trace where you are and send assistance. Please do not ring the emergency services unless it is a genuine 999 matter.

Severe weather and snow

If harsh weather conditions affect the area in which you live:

When severe weather is forecast:

  • Check the TV news, radio and newspapers for the latest information and early warnings.
  • Stock up on essentials such as the suggested emergency pack.
  • Be a good neighbour and pass on warnings to those who may have missed the warnings, and check on the elderly and inform.

During severe weather:

  • Check the TV, radio and newspapers for the latest information.
  • Make essential journeys only.
  • If you must travel, make sure that you are fully prepared for all events and conditions.
  • Obtain a weather forecast and if possible determine the road conditions for the journey you are going to take.
  • Offer assistance to less able neighbours.
  • Wrap up warm in several thin layers.
  • Conserve energy by using one room and maintaining its temperature at 15°/20° Celsius (60°/70° Fahrenheit).
  • Have at least one hot meal a day.
  • Fill some clean containers with fresh water in case supply fails.

Our winter programme of help for vulnerable people

Each year we work with partners to deliver the City Council's Stay Warm and Healthy in Derby programme to try and help vulnerable people to keep warm at home through the cold winter months. Download the programme flyer to find out about the type of support and assistance we offer.


Contact details

Post address:
Adult social care
People Services
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 640777
Minicom: 01332 640666
Customer Service Centre
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street