The arrival of winter can bring a number of challenges for individuals and communities. Darker nights, bad weather and illness can all cause disruption, but there are some simple steps all of us can take to be best prepared for the season.
Is your home ready for winter? Any odd jobs and basic repairs are best completed before the weather takes a turn for the worse.
- Clear gutters and drains of leaves to prevent leaks and flooding. Also consider draining and shutting off outdoor taps
- Keep warm. It costs more to heat a room from cold than if you maintain your heating even at a low temperature
- Consider boosting your insulation - you could be eligible for a free upgrade if you are a homeowner or private tenant.
- Make sure your property is secure and well-lit as the nights grow darker
There's never a good time to be ill, but the colder months can make a cold or flu seem even more miserable. While not every illness can be prevented, knowing where to seek advice can make dealing with it easier.
- Unsure whether you need advice from a pharmacist or a doctor, or maybe even a hospital visit? Make sure you Know Who to Turn To
- Help reduce the spread of germs by regularly washing your hands, particularly if you are or have been ill
- Make sure to note any changes to winter opening hours for surgeries and chemists, particularly during the festive fortnight. Make sure you have enough of your medication in advance
- If you are pregnant or over the age of 65 you could be eligible for a flu vaccine
Aberdeenshire's largely rural nature means that bad weather can cause difficulties for communities and transport, sometimes for days at a time.
- Look out for vulnerable neighbours, particularly when the weather is at its worst
- Not sure if your child's school will be open during winter weather? Aberdeenshire's school closures webpage and phone line is updated directly by head teachers on a daily basis
- Emergencies are thankfully rare, but it's always best to be prepared by having “grab bag” ready if you have to leave your home at short notice due to flooding or other emergencies
Council's winter maintenance team monitors weather conditions on a 24-hour basis during the winter, and treats roads on a priority basis.
- Is your journey really necessary? Could you work from home or elsewhere instead of travelling in bad weather? Observe police road warnings and allow extra time for your journey
- If your car has not been serviced recently, consider doing so before the winter weather begins
- Prepare a winter kit for your car – anti-freeze, water, an ice-scraper, gloves, a torch and a shovel if you can manage it could make all the difference if you get stuck
- Keep an eye on any roads updates for your area and any disruption to bus and train services