Torbay Council’s Public Health Team is warning that a Level 3 Cold Weather Alert has been issued for all regions of England, including the South West by the Met Office and Public Health England.
Level 3 alerts are issued when severe weather is occurring, when average temperatures have dropped to 2°C or below, and/or widespread ice and heavy snow is present.
Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Derek Mills said: “The Met Office has advised that many places are going to feel really cold for the next few days, which may be a bit of a shock after our recent milder weather, so it’s really important people take extra care when out and about.
“It’s worth remembering that while most outdoor slips, trips and falls in weather like this are to those who are of working age, accidents can happen to anyone.
“If you’re staying indoors, have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm. Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have a long term illness or are over 65, and check weather forecasts and plan your day around
“Also take some time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends and family, particularly if they are older or very young or have pre-existing health conditions. These groups can be particularly vulnerable. Remember that older people may not go outside to the shops, to hospital appointments and so on when weather is bad, so think what you could do to help them.
“Although most of our advice on keeping warm and well in cold weather may seem like common sense, it’s important to remember that cold kills, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest.”
It will turn much colder for all parts of England over the next few days. Spells of sleet and snow at the start of the period will become increasingly confined to the North Sea coast and hills, giving way to cold, crisp days and sharp overnight frosts with a risk of ice.
Frosts may also be severe at times, particularly where there is lying snow.
As winds fall light there is an increasing risk of freezing fog patches forming overnight and locally where this freezing fog lingers temperatures may stay sub-zero all day. The cold weather currently looks like lasting into the early part of next week with a trend towards less cold conditions during the second half of next week.
The Cold Weather Plan for England sets out a series of actions that health and social care organisations, voluntary and community groups, and individuals can take and plan for cold temperatures to help reduce cold-related illnesses and deaths.
Top tips to prepare for colder weather:
– look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately
– try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over
– stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance (have deliveries or ask a friend to help)
– take weather into account when planning your activity over the following days
– avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls
– discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby, if unable to do so yourself.
Further advice can be found by visiting www.nhs.uk/staywell.