1 Prepare for winter
There are simple things you can do to help you and your family keep warm, healthy and safe during cold weather.
Keep an eye on the weather
- Sign up to receive severe weather and school closure email alerts.
- Check if you are at risk from flooding and sign up for free flood warnings.
Protect your home
- Order winter fuel in advance.
- Check pipes are lagged to prevent them bursting, and know where to turn your stopcock off.
- Have a shovel available to clear paths.
- Prepare an emergency bag in case you or your family have to move location at short notice.
- Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home.
- Complete a Household Emergency Plan, which should include important numbers, such as your home insurer, doctor and the police:
Protect your business
- Our Protect your business pages provide information on how to prepare a business continuity plan to help in the event of extreme weather.
Protect your health
- Keep warm and well - find out if you are eligible for Cold Weather Payments.
- Fight the flu – get a flu jab.
- If you take medication make sure you have enough to get you through any bad weather.
- Check NHS Choices for winter health guidance.
- Wash your hands to prevent viruses spreading.
- Have your heating and cooking appliances serviced by an approved trader - carbon monoxide is a killer.
- Stock up on basic supplies at home (see our emergency survival checklist for more information) or find out about getting Meals on Wheels.
- Ensure you have shoes with a good grip.
- Prepare your car for winter weather by following RAC advice.
- Follow GOV.UK's advice about driving in adverse weather conditions.
- Keep up to date with the latest travel information around the county or around the UK.
- Sign up for free train delay and disruption alerts.
Help your community
- Check who might need help in your community should the weather turn bad by speaking to your local parish clerk.
- Help your community by volunteering.
2 During snow or ice
- Find the latest information on school closures in West Sussex.
- Check the forecast from the Met Office and watch out for severe weather warnings.
- Keep up to date with events by following WSCC news on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.
- Keep your mobile phone fully charged.
- Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are managing in the cold weather - if you are worried about them you can contact us.
Venturing out on foot
- Put on sturdy footwear to avoid slips and trips - be particularly careful going up and down steps and pavements.
- Wear several layers of clothing and keep dry to prevent loss of body heat.
- Keep moving your arms and legs to help the blood circulate.
- Take a mobile phone with you in case you get into difficulties.
Venturing out by car
- Avoid travel if possible - try to wait until the roads have been gritted before travelling, and keep an eye on weather warnings.
- If you must travel, follow the AA's advice on the items you should have in your car.
- Extreme weather conditions and icy roads make driving more difficult - by following Government advice you can help to make your journey safer and reduce delays for everyone.
- Refer to our winter service pages for information on snow gritting routes and our West Sussex Highways Twitter feed for daily decisions about gritting.
- See the winter driving advice from the RAC.
Getting trapped or stranded in your car
- Wrap up warm and put a hat on - use newspapers, maps, and even removable car mats for added insulation.
- Put on as many layers of clothing as possible - multiple layers are better at keeping you insulated than a couple of thick layers.
- Keep your circulation going by clapping your hands and moving your arms and legs occasionally.
- Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
- Stay in the car and do not leave it to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards - you could become disoriented and lost in drifting snow.
- Display a 'trouble' sign by hanging a brightly coloured cloth on the radio antenna and raising the bonnet.
- Run the engine for about 10 minutes each hour so you can use the heater and turn on the car's light.
- Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping the exhaust pipe clear of snow and opening a downwind window slightly for ventilation.
- Take turns sleeping if more than one person is in the car - huddle together for warmth.
Clearing snow and ice
There's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully.
- Check the Government advice on clearing snow.
- Put grit, sharp sand or salt on paths and driveways to lessen the risk of slipping on compacted snow.
- Bulk bags of salt will be left by us in key areas that have been identified by your parish council, with the expectation that the salt will be used before snow falls. This salt can be used by the community to assist in clearing public places.
3 After snow or ice
- The action of freezing and thawing may damage the road surface - please report potholes using our online form.
- Be extra careful when travelling as an initial thaw could create black ice.
- Replace any supplies or food you have used to ensure you are ready should the severe weather return.
- Check on vulnerable neighbours to see if there is anything they need.