Staying Safe this Winter

Are you ready for winter? It's something we all need to do, and it takes only a few simple steps. 

Getting ready for winter is easy. Make a plan for your home, travel and business, and think about how you could help others.

Ready Scotland

Keep safe and warm at home this winter

If it's cold outside you need to be warm inside. Here are some tips for keeping safe and warm:

  • If you can't heat all your rooms:
    • make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day
    • heat your bedroom before going to bed
  • Make your home more energy efficient, keep dry - protect pipes and know how to turn off the water supply if you need to. Stay connected, keep a battery operated radio and a list of emergency contact numbers to hand
  • A balanced diet will help keep you warm and healthy in the winter. Make sure you and your family eat at least one hot meal a day. Soup is nutritious and warming, and inexpensive to make or buy
  • Wearing the right kind of clothes can help keep you much warmer. Layers are best, t-shirts and under clothes to keep the base of your back warm will heat you from the core
  • Staying active is good for your health, walking for example can be beneficial. If the weather prevents you getting outside, stay active indoors. Catch up on all the household tasks you've been putting off
  • Talk - especially if you've been stuck in the house for a few days. Lift the phone and call friends and family for a blether
  • If you have elderly relatives or neighbours who might need help please check up on them. You can get a warm feeling inside by ensuring they are warm on the outside!
  • Create an emergency kit that contains what you need
  • Ensure you have access to a shovel and salt or grit, for clearing snow and ice from paths and drives.  Find you nearest grit bin.

Dealing with common winter damage to your home

  • If your pipes freeze, turn off the stop valve immediately, open all cold taps to drain the system. Do not turn on hot taps, your hot water cylinder may collapse if the pipes leading to it are frozen. Call a licensed plumber if you are in any doubt about what to do. More advice on burst and frozen pipes is available from the Scottish Water website
  • Never attempt to thaw out frozen pipes by switching on your immersion heater or central heating boiler. Instead, check for leaking joints or bursts in the pipes. Then gently heat any frozen sections with a hairdryer or a heated cloth wrapped around the pipe. Never apply a direct flame
  • Be aware that snow and ice could fall from roofs suddenly. Be prepared and predict where it might fall and don't park your car, bikes or garden furniture in its path. Contact your household insurer if snow or ice has caused damage to the fabric of your property
  • If you need to evacuate and if it's safe and time permits turn off the water and electricity. Grab your emergency kit, and secure your premises.

Loss of Power and utility emergencies

Should your power supply be lost unexpectedly you will need to call the emergency number for your area. SP Energy Networks can give you their best estimate of how long it will take to restore power.

Prepare for winter travel


In really bad weather conditions your journey could take longer than expected.

  • Get ready for winter by packing a few essential items in your car. Your winter emergency kit
  • Consider fitting winter tyres to your vehicle (more information available on the Tyresafe website

Public Transport

Cycling and Walking

  • If cycling, ensure you and your bike are visible to other road users. Wear clothes that help you be seen on your bike such as bright and light reflective items
  • Consider heavier duty tyres to cope with slippery surfaces. Get a routine bike maintenance check and get a good set of mud guards
  • If walking in bad conditions, take the usual sensible precautions - wear appropriate footwear and clothing.  Consider getting ice grips to wear over your shoes - this can give you an extra grip in icy conditions.

Emergency Services

For Winter Safety Advice from the Emergency Services: