Every winter older people die unnecessarily due to the cold. Many deaths and illnesses can be prevented by keeping homes warm.
If you have any problems keeping your home warm or covering the cost of fuel you may be able to get information and advice from your housing provider or local district or borough council. You can refer yourself for warm homes advice using our First Contact scheme.
If you have a health condition that is made worse by the cold and you struggle to afford to heat your home, the Healthy Homes Project may be able to help or can direct you to other sources of support on telephone 01629 536919.
Forces for Warmth delivers energy advice to East Midlands veterans. An individual can access the support directly by contacting the Royal British Legion tel: 0808 802 8080 and advising they need support with managing their fuel bills.
We'll do all we can to maintain essential services such as home care and support services for older, disabled and vulnerable people who usually receive our catering service.
And we'll be working around the clock together with other organisations including the NHS and voluntary groups to make sure help reaches the people who need it the most.
But there are a few simple steps you can take yourself and to help others. You could be a snow buddy during winter months - checking on elderly and disabled neighbours and relatives to make sure they're ok with enough heat and food.
And you can also help by clearing snow and ice from paths and driveways so care services can reach people who need help.
Here are some tips on how to keep warm and safe in the winter weather:
- check you have well-gripping shoes to prevent falls in cold weather, wear several layers of clothes to stay warm and remain active in your home
- have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day - eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter.
- warm your bed and bedroom before turning in for the night. Your bedroom should be kept above 18°c overnight
- keep plenty of food in your cupboards and stock up on supplies such as heating oil if you use it
- check you have had your flu jab if you are aged 65 or over, pregnant, have certain medical conditions, live in a residential or nursing home or are the main carer for an older or disabled person
- check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you or someone you look after has an adequate supply of any prescription medicines.
- if you use an electric blanket, have it serviced at least every 3 years
- make sure central heating boilers are serviced regularly, chimneys are swept regularly if you have an open fire and paraffin heaters are thoroughly cleaned with the wick checked and trimmed
- be especially aware of fire safety - particularly if you are planning to use portable heaters, open fires or stoves. Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarms and test them every week
- maintain portable gas heaters and check electric fires are fitted with the right fuse and don't have frayed or damaged cables
- check portable heaters have a safety guard and don't place them near furniture, beds or curtains
- look out for neighbours - if you have an elderly neighbour or relative, look out for them in the winter months to ensure they have enough heat, food and necessary medication
- keep an eye out for bogus officials who may call door-to-door without an appointment claiming to be from heating supply or other companies checking for problems caused by the cold weather - always check the identity of the callers to your home and if in doubt call the police
- do not walk on ice-covered lakes, ponds or rivers when walking your dog or by yourself- if you see a person or animal fall through the ice do not try and rescue them, telephone 999 immediately and ask for the fire and rescue service
- warn children about the dangers of open water and ice - even a short exposure to freezing water can be fatal
For staying safe on the roads during bad weather:
- in icy conditions slow down, steer gently and avoid harsh breaking
- check your lights are working and your windscreen washer is full
- if going on a long journey, take a shovel, torch, boots, warm clothing, food, a hot drink and a charged mobile phone
Winter fuel payments of between £100 and £300 are available if you were born on or before 5 January 1952. Most people will receive this money automatically.
Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses. If you are concerned about anyone please Call Derbyshire telephone 01629 533190. In an emergency call 999.
Take a look at the steps you can take to protect your property this winter. Visit our list of Trusted Traders to find legitimate traders such as plumbers to fix burst water pipes. Or you can contact Call Derbyshire telephone 01629 533190.
Community oil buying scheme
Rural Action Derbyshire operate a community oil buying scheme that provides people who use oil to heat their house with the opportunity to obtain it at a lower price. This scheme operates across Derbyshire and is open to individuals and businesses.
For further information telephone 01629 824797.
Independent Age - how will you be keeping warm?
Independent Age provide an information leaflet 'Being Winter Wise.' It offers advice on staying warm and well during the colder months, including information about cold weather payments.
You can also order free copies to provide to your neighbours, friends and family to make sure they're able to cope with the cold.
Visit Independent Age to find out more and to order your free copies.