Severe weather can strike quickly and cause major disruption to our homes, families and communities.
The good news is that, with a few simple steps, it’s easy to prepare for sudden snow, storms, flooding, and other winter emergencies.
What to do now
- Put together an emergency kit, with all the right clothing, food and equipment.
- Learn first aid – take a course or download our free first aid mobile app.
- Read through our emergency plan for families (PDF), so your household knows what to do in a crisis.
- Stay informed about bad weather: check severe weather and flood warnings.
- Plan for alternative ways to keep warm if your home heating is disrupted.
- Do you or someone you know need extra support during a power cut? If you live in London, the South East of England or the East of England, sign up for UK Power Network’s priority service, as they can help. They have a dedicated phone number, provide regular updates and, if necessary, will ask British Red Cross volunteers to visit.
It’s a good idea to write down the telephone number of someone you can call in an emergency, in case you lose access to your mobile or the internet. It is also worth preparing your data and devices by doing the following:
- Upload password-protected copies of key documents, such as insurance papers and identification documents, to a backup or cloud drive – secured in a remote location.
- On your smartphone, download a flashlight app and get bookmarks and apps for all the websites you use regularly: including weather alerts, evacuation routes and first aid training.
- Store extra batteries or chargers (handcrank or solar) with your emergency kit.
Check your workplace has a severe weather plan and a list of emergency business contacts (PDF) – so you know what to do and who to call if you can’t get in.
Prepare young people for snow and ice with the wintry activities in our teaching resource, and the Education Scotland emergencies resource.
What to do in severe weather
On the move
Think carefully about whether you should travel now or wait until conditions improve. Before setting off:
- Check weather, news and travel reports – the closer to the time you leave, the better.
- Take your kit of essential emergency items.
- Tell someone where you’re going.
- Think about other ways to get to and from your destination.
- Charge your mobile phone.
In your community
A few things you can do to help people in your area:
- Check on neighbours, family and friends, especially those who live on their own.
- Clear snow or ice from the pathways of those who can’t do it themselves.
- Think about who will help anyone you normally look after, if you are stranded.
- Volunteer to help vulnerable people in your neighbourhood.