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Extreme weather spoiled Christmas 2010 for many, but you can be prepared this year

7 December 2011

Man shovelling snow© InfoSevere winter weather spoiled Christmas for almost half the population, according to a new Red Cross survey.

In November, the British Red Cross surveyed UK adults to ask how extreme weather had affected their Christmas in 2010*.

  • 29 per cent said they’d been affected by road closures.
  • 24 per cent had been unable to see friends and family.
  • 14 per cent were stranded in their homes.
  • 13 per cent had been ill over Christmas.

In total, 42 per cent of respondents said that extreme weather had ruined their celebrations.

Winter weather can be deadly

One worrying statistic from the survey was that only 38 per cent of people were actively taking steps to prepare in case extreme weather stranded them in their homes this year. And only 22 per cent were prepared for emergencies on the road.

As many as 25,000 people die at this time of year from illnesses like hypothermia and pneumonia. So it’s important to spend a little time gathering essential – and sometimes life-saving – items now, just in case you need them later.

Arm yourself with a grab bag

Put vital items like torches, long-life food, warm clothes, medicine and emergency contact details in two bags – one for home and one for when you’re on the go, so you’ll be prepared wherever you are if sudden bad weather leaves you stranded. And, of course, keep an eye on weather reports.

Find out more about preparing yourself for sudden bad weather

Learn basic first aid

Knowing what to do if someone falls ill or has an accident could mean the difference between life and death. Everyday First Aid teaches basic life-saving skills you can learn quickly and easily.

Call in regularly on elderly friends

Elderly people are especially prone to hypothermia and pneumonia, and often they live in older houses without adequate heating. So call in regularly on elderly friends, neighbours and relatives to see if they need help staying warm or getting provisions.

*The British Red Cross ran this survey with the research company Populus. It polled 2,000 UK adults between 25 and 27 November 2011.