Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.
This week, we explore how to prepare your home for the winter period.
When temperatures start to drop, the first thing people should think about is how to prepare their home before the cold weather really takes hold.
There are numerous checks that can be completed which can minimise the affects of adverse weather and we offer this advice:
· Insulate pipes and drain off outside taps to prevent frozen pipes;
· Know where your stop tap is, and make sure you can turn it on and off with ease;
· If you are going away, consider asking a friend or neighbour to check on your house regularly. That way, if you have a burst then it will be discovered early;
· Leave your heating on if the weather is forecast to be freezing;
· Take advantage of the last remaining insulation offers. Contact your energy supplier for any offers on loft and cavity wall insulation;
· Fit draught proofing to seal any gaps around doors and windows;
· Get your boiler serviced regularly by a qualified engineer. Remember for gas boilers, check that your engineer is Gas Safe registered;
· Be prepared for clearing ice and snow this winter – have a snow shovel, brush and grit or salt ready.
It is also advisable for people to contact their energy supplier to check whether they are eligible for free or priority services.
Suppliers have a duty of care to households with customers who may be vulnerable regarding their energy supply.
If a member of a person’s household is of a pensionable age, has a disability, is chronically sick, has a hearing and/or visual impairment or has a child under eight years old, they may be eligible for free services.
Winter is also a good time to be aware of what to do if electricity supplies go off. Don’t assume that suppliers will know that power supplies are down – call them and have your name, postcode, house number and telephone number handy.
Scottish Power has offered these first steps if power supplies go down:
· If you have a trip switch, check to see if it has operated. If it has, switch off all your appliances and try to reset the trip switch;
· If possible, check to see if your neighbours have lost supply. If they are also without power, contact your supplier.
· If neighbours still have a supply then check your trip switch and your wiring. If they are not faulty, contact your supplier.
Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East’s Winter Wellbeing spokeswoman, said: “Throughout the winter, we will be providing information and handy tips to help people prepare for winter, how to cope in cold spells, and encouraging people to look out for their neighbours.
“We are also putting plans in place to identify vulnerable people at risk of ill health during cold spells. The advice above offers simple and practical measures that everyone can use to suit their own circumstances.”
Sean Reynolds, Chairman of the Cheshire East Safeguarding Adults Board, added: “On behalf of the Board, I would encourage everyone to take note and act upon this practical advice to stay safe and warm this winter.”
For further winter-related advice, please visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/winter