Being ready for winter isn’t about being pessimistic; it’s about being sensible and prepared. The last few years have seen some tough winters in parts of Scotland and it’s best to have a plan for if things go the same way this year.

The following simple measures could save you a lot of trouble.

Flu jab

Vulnerable people, such as the elderly or people with certain disabilities are entitled to a free flu jab through their GP. If you haven’t been contacted about it yet, get in touch to find out about this year’s arrangements and if you’re eligible. Flu sounds like a small thing to worry about but is no fun at all, especially if it leads to exacerbations of other conditions or causes complications.


Make sure that you have a sensible stock of any prescription medication you use as well as a first aid kit containing plasters, anti-septic and bandages. Trips and slips aren’t uncommon when it gets slippery underfoot.


You probably use your boiler every day for hot water and heating without even thinking about it so it’s well worth having it checked/serviced by a professional. It may not be cheap but it’s an investment that will likely help it to run more efficiently and increase reliability. (Also seek to protect any pipes that may be vulnerable to freezing and bursting.)


Utility companies work closely with local authorities to make sure that vulnerable people get the support they need during any disruptions to services. It’s a smart move to inform your supplier if you are disabled and reliant on continuous service (perhaps for medical equipment or stairlifts and so on) or if you have a visual impairment or hearing difficulties.

Contact Scottish Power Energy Networks on: 0330 10 10 444 or by using the online form at: to register for their priority service.


No doubt at this time of year you’ll already be eating more soups than salads. Keep a sensible stock of high calorie tinned food just in case you experience being cut off and stranded by floods or snow. In the event of a power-cut when you cannot cook hot food, high energy foods kept in plastic packaging will be useful, such as cakes and chocolate bars. Keep a couple of cartons of long life milk in a cool dry place as well.


Have a few clean blankets ready for use at home or in the car.


Get into the habit of charging up your phone and have batteries at the ready for torches as well as candles to hand.

Emergency plan and kit

Collect up a box or overnight bag with a change of warm clothes and decent footwear as well as a few items of food and important telephone numbers. If you go out and about a lot you should keep this in the car. (Discuss with friends or relatives what needs to happen if you need to leave your home for any length of time.)

Tune in

Your local radio station could be a fantastic resource for news, weather forecasts and details about traffic movements or closures to services. Make sure you have a radio that can be powered by batteries as well as plugged in.

Power cuts

If you experience a power cut you should contact the company which distributes power in your region. (A battery powered phone will not be affected by loss of mains power.)

Electricity distribution networks:

Scottish Power Energy Networks (Central and Southern Scotland)
(Hotline number: 0800 092 9290) or 0330 1010 222

Scottish and Southern Energy (North of the Central Belt of Scotland) (Hotline number: 0800 300 999)

Gas distribution network:

Tel: 0800 912 1700
Twitter: @SGNgas