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‘No complacency’ message after two mild winters

20 October 2014

Two consecutive relatively mild winters appear to have made people in Scotland less worried about severe weather incidents, according to new research published today.

Forty per cent of Scots surveyed said that they were concerned about emergencies caused by treacherous weather conditions, compared to almost half of those questioned a year ago.

Launching this year’s ‘Get ready for winter’ campaign, Scottish Government Transport Minister Keith Brown said it was vital that we didn’t led our personal and community preparedness be guided only by recent experience, but that we acknowledge that Scotland’s weather can be both very unpredictable and often challenging.

Mr Brown said: “If there is anything recent winters have shown us it is that Scottish weather is unpredictable. In the last five years, most parts of Scotland have been affected by severe weather ranging from snow and freezing temperatures to high winds and flooding, and we also saw the terrible impact of flooding in south-west England last winter. While extreme weather can happen at any time of year, winter remains the time of greatest risk.

“The unpredictability of weather patterns means we cannot simply hope that we will miss the worst of it. While we can’t stop the weather causing disruption, we can be well prepared to cope with it.  Our annual winter preparedness campaign reminds us of this and the simple actions we can all take to get ready: in the home, before a journey, at our place of work and in our communities.  This will serve us well not just throughout the winter months, but all year round and in a range of emergency situations.

“I’m delighted the campaign is again being run in partnership with the British Red Cross and will be supported by a variety of other partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors in Scotland.”

David Miller, Director of the British Red Cross in Scotland, said: “Making sure you are prepared now for winter can make a huge difference when extreme weather hits.  

“At the Red Cross we know that severe weather, including snow and floods, can have serious consequences. However, with a few simple steps you can make yourself and others ready for the disruption it can bring.

"You can prepare an emergency kit for your home and car, jot down your emergency phone numbers and check on any neighbours, family or friends to see if they need any help. You can also make sure you know what the plan at your workplace is.

"Each year the Red Cross helps people across Scotland cope with the effects of severe weather and this winter, as always,  we’ll be prepared and ready.”

COSLA President Councillor David O’Neill said: "COSLA is delighted to once again be working in partnership with the Scottish Government and British Red Cross to launch the ‘Ready for Winter?’ campaign.  COSLA would urge people to be aware of the simple measures they can take to make sure they are prepared to should severe weather affect Scotland.

“COSLA is involved in reaching out to local councils throughout Scotland to ensure they have appropriate contingency plans in place to minimise the impact on public services should Scotland experience any form of severe weather this winter."

Research commissioned by the Scottish Government and the British Red Cross has found that the level of concern about the impact of weather is linked closely to recent experience, with 77 per cent of those who have been though a weather emergency in the last 12 months expressing concern. This drops to 37 per cent for those who have not experienced a weather emergency over the same 12 months.

The annual ‘Get Ready for Winter’ campaign reminds people to take a short amount of time now to prepare rather than waiting until extreme weather affects them.

The campaign, run in partnership with the British Red Cross, sets out the simple steps we can all take in the home, before a journey (whether driving, cycling or on foot), at work and in our communities. It also encourages people to look out for and help more vulnerable people in their community, as well as reminding businesses of the need to be prepared, and reminding people to be safe when going out during winter.

The survey also found:

  • Almost nine out of ten car owners believe they are prepared for an emergency, largely because three-quarters carry an ice-scraper and de-icer.
  • Seven per cent had experienced an extreme weather emergency in the past year, with higher levels in rural areas. Of these, two-fifths claimed they got together with neighbours to help cope.


For more information. Contact Jenny Stewart or Jen Ward at Stripe Communications: 0131 526 8230 or

Notes to Editors

The Scottish Government’s Ready for Winter campaign, in partnership with the British Red Cross, provides information and advice on how to prepare and cope with severe weather including snow, ice, flooding and high winds.

The campaign includes a range of online resources and will feature integrated marketing activity across TV, local press, radio (local and community), news websites and social media, and is due to run until the end of November. This is the fourth year the campaign has run and it is operational from 21 October to 30 November.

The 2013 campaign evaluation identified that four out of ten people ‘definitely intend to take action as a result of the adverts’ (with the majority of the remainder saying they have already taken action). 59% of the Scottish population saw the 2013 campaign at least once with strong take-out of the main message to get prepared for winter,

A national roadshow will visit a variety of locations across Scotland, offering practical information and guidance on preparing for all kinds of severe weather.

The research published today looks at emergency preparedness in Scotland in 2014. The research was carried out using the Scottish Opinion Survey (SOS) during the period of 21 – 28 May 2014 and a total of 1,011 interviews were carried out. 

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