There really is no time like the present to start thinking about winter. I’m not quite talking about gathering logs or bringing the livestock off the hilltops but it makes good sense to have a plan in case we’re hit by severe weather again.

Our weather has become more and more unpredictable over the last few years. Rather than being unprepared, a few minutes thought now could save you hours of heartache later on.


It’s never a good idea to let your stock of any prescription medicines dwindle to nothing before you re-order them. In winter it’s even more important to have a good stock to hand not least because there may be a time when you can’t get to the pharmacy or that it’s closed for seasonal holidays or as a result of staff not being able to get to work. It’s also the case that cold can often exacerbate medical conditions and you may need more medicine than you think.

Have a plan

Take some time to think about what you would do if you were trapped at home for a couple of days, perhaps because of snow or floods. You need to have a plan regarding who could help you out or perhaps even for alternative accommodation at a friend’s or relative. You might even have a plan in place to help out if you are taken unwell and are unable to leave your bed.


It’s well worth checking your insurance policies; not only to make sure that they’re still in date but also because you can take comfort about what exactly you’re insured against. You could also take the opportunity to amend your policies to suit. Keep the documents in a file that is easy to get to but that’s also out of harm’s way.

If you find that you are uninsured it might well be time to shop around and get a few quotes. Check things like bank accounts or credit card agreements since sometimes these include at least some level of cover or will hand you a discount if you use a certain supplier.


Keeping a small amount of cash in the house is sensible. Again, make sure that it’s in a safe place and that only you know where it is. It may be the case that if you’re trapped indoors that you won’t be able to get to a bank or an ATM. Cash is never declined be it by workmen or shopkeepers; in other words it really is the only 100% reliable payment method if other systems go down temporarily.

Stock the cupboards

Maybe you could buy a few more tins in your next few weekly shops. Things like soups and other hearty foodstuffs are a good thing to have around and of course, in the event that your fridge or freezer is out of action, they won’t go off. Chocolate bars and biscuits are good snacks to have around because they are high in calories (energy) and require no preparation.


If you experience a power cut you’ll probably be without heat or light (unless you have gas central heating or a real fire). Whilst you can always dress to keep the cold out, you’ll need a source of light. Dig out your torch, purchase some batteries and just in case things are off for a long time, pick up a box of candles (and matches).

Keep informed

Information is really important. Tuning into a local radio station will keep you informed about any significant weather changes as well as transport and travel news which might be crucial to you if you plan to leave your home or are inviting others over.

Keep warm

When your house is cold you run the risk of developing hypothermia. This is a more dangerous condition than you might think since it can impair your judgement and can, in turn, lead to accidents and so on. A room thermometer will help you keep track of the temperature and simple measures like dressing for warmth and in severe cases, heating a smaller portion of your home, rather than the entirety, might prove sensible.


Pipes notoriously burst in wintertime causing flooding. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to locate your stopcock (which controls the flow of water in your home). Learn how to turn it on and off just in case the need arises. It’s also a good idea to make sure that contact details and any agreements with utility companies are to hand as well as contact details for reliable electricians and plumbers should there be a problem.


It might well be worth getting to know your neighbours. There is a certain safety in numbers, meaning that if their boiler packs in, you should try to help them, just as they might be able to help you if you’re in dire straits. They’re also the closest people to you and will probably be the first people able to respond to a genuine emergency.