Self help

Winter Warmth Self Help Guide

Green – Normal Winter Days

  • Ensure you have sufficient fuel for at least seven days, including charging your electricity and gas meter key/tokens.
  • That you have a family member, friend, known neighbour or carer available to act as back-up in case of emergency need.
  • Ensure your heating and hot water appliances are in good working order and professionally checked, your chimneys swept and you have sufficient ventilation for fuel burning appliances.
  • That you seek out advice on the best cost fuel use and tariffs prior to very or extremely cold weather conditions.
  • You have available a second fuel source heater for your home.
  • Find out how to get the best from your heating and hot water system or appliances from the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 3366 99.
  • Ask about your fuel companies ‘Priority Service Register ‘ and other services to prevent disconnection and for their assistance with adaptations or advice.
  • Have your home insulated, supported by a grant – This can take at least six weeks, so book early.

Amber – Cold & Very Cold Conditions

  • Check out on local radio what the weather is going to be like, or telephone the ‘Met Office’s’ 24 hour line on 0870 900 0100 or visit and click on East Midlands, severe weather warnings. They colour code weather severity to help!
  • Have and take plenty of hot drinks and food throughout the day and stay active if you can.
  • Have a small stock of tinned, frozen and dried foods so you don’t have to go out if the weather gets worse.
  • It has been said before, but wear extra layers of clothing.
  • Wrap up doubly warm if you have to venture outside as body heat lost takes some time to be regained, even when you are back indoors.
  • Room thermostats need checking if you have one. 21C, or for those who are immobile, around 23C is advisable.
  • Use an electric over-blanket after ensuring it is safe to use, or add extra quilts or blanket layers to your bed. Don’t forget if you don’t have an electric blanket, a covered safe and reliable hot water bottle is a great alternative.
  • Ensure you have purchased a small amount of salt or salt and sand to treat icy steps and paths.
  • Wear stout shoes with a good grip in icy conditions, even consider a walking stick or large umbrella to aid balance. Ensure your slippers or indoor shoes are fit for the job.
  • Turn down, not off, radiators in rooms not in use and heat at least one room adequately. Pre-heat your bedroom for a short while before retiring for the night.
  • Ensure, if you have one, that your staircase is well lit.

Red – Adverse & Extreme Weather Conditions

  • ‘Phone a friend’ as the TV show saying goes, and have a chat. Adverse and severe weather can be scary at times and it’s nice to talk.
  • Keep checking the weather forecast or local radio for advice.
  • Heat one room really well.
  • Wear an extra cardigan, jumper or fleece.
  • Use a hot water bottle at night, or why not treat yourself to wrapping up in a rug for a bit of day-time TV or radio with a warm drink and hot water bottle too.
  • Don’t use gas cookers as a heating source as they need lots of ventilation.
  • Ensure the room that is well heated has sufficient ventilation particularly when using heaters that draw air from the room or unvented (no flue or chimney) heaters.
  • If you have a wall thermometer, use it to check if your room is too cool or in fact too hot.
  • Try to stay indoors for the worst of the weather and ask your active friend/family member/carer/friendly or known neighbour to get a few groceries for you, extra fuel, token meter key charging or sand/salt, prescriptions etc
  • If you really need to visit your GP, don’t forget many practices offer a lift service in adverse weather conditions for certain patients. Telephone them for details.