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Cold weather advice and planning

The Cold weather plan (CWP) for England describes useful prompts for safety and wellbeing in winter, and the best time to act.

The time at which specific actions should be taken is based on the Met Office Cold Weather Alert Levels. These are explained at the beginning of the plan. These alert levels are now commonplace on all UK weather forecasts across the media. To monitor the regional forecast and see current alert levels, please see the Met Office website.

There is an average of 27,000 extra winter deaths each year as a result of cold weather. By following the documents produced by the Department of Health and Social Care, families, communities, and health and social care settings will be able to reduce the risk to vulnerable people.

A Cold Weather Alert can be issued any time between 1 November and 31 March. The definition of severe cold weather is 2°C and/or snow and ice.

Stay well this winter

The NHS has produced guidance which is aimed at supporting vulnerable people over winter. The NHS Stay Well This Winter initiative has involved a number of government departments, industry bodies and voluntary sector partners including:

  • The British Red Cross
  • Royal Volunteer Service
  • Dorset Churches Together
  • St John’s Ambulance
  • The Salvation Army.

working together to provide top tips on advising people how to keep themselves and their families warm, healthy, and safe throughout the colder months.

The Public Health Dorset website also has advice on health protection.

Register as a high priority service user with your utilities provider 

You can contact either Wessex Water or Southern Electric vulnerable customers registration to register as someone who is a potentially vulnerable customer. This might be because you rely on power to run medical equipment in your home or rely on electricity for your heating.

Order fuel early

In recent winters, the oil industry has seen an increase in demand for domestic and business oil deliveries throughout December. The supply for such demand can be severely affected if snow and widespread ice affects the road network. As a result, it is best to stock up on fuel as early as convenient.