Severe Weather Conditions – Let us all be Winter Ready!

Whether it’s at home, on the move, in the workplace, or in your community, we all need to consider the risk of severe weather.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in association with the Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership have prepared Useful Information, including helpline numbers. People are encouraged to consider the risks associated with severe weather and to prepare themselves for dealing with potentially extreme conditions

As an integral part of its  winter planning, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is also seeking the assistance of the wider community, especially close family members, friends and neighbours, by visiting or phoning vulnerable neighbours in times of severe weather to check that they are safe and well.

Doing a few small things now could save you a lot of trouble later, and it only takes a few simple steps. By ‘thinking ahead’ we can be better prepared.

On the move

  • Being prepared for severe weather is something we all need to do – it takes only a few simple steps and is important if you’re on the move/road
  • In severe weather conditions, your journey could take longer than expected
  • Before travelling in bad weather, you should:
  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions
  • Consider whether you need to travel right now or if you can wait until the weather improves
  • Consider alternative routes
  • Consider alternative modes of transport
  • Allow extra time for your journey
  • Make sure your car is ready for a journey in poor weather
  • Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged
  • Set your car radio to auto travel bulletins
  • Tell someone your destination and when you expect to arrive
  • Consider fitting winter tyres to your vehicle
  • Be prepared for severe weather by packing a few essential items to take with you. Your emergency kit should at least include:


  • ­An ice scraper and de-icer
  • ­A shovel for snow
  • ­A torch and spare batteries
  • ­Warm clothes, boots and a blanket
  • ­Some food and a warm drink in a flask
  • ­A first aid kit
  • ­Battery jump leads
  • ­A map for any unplanned diversions

On public transport

  • Dress for the season/forecast
  • Have a means of contacting your family
  • For a long journey, carry a small snack and some water if possible


  • Ensure you and your bike are visible to other road users by investing in a good set of front and rear lights (white at the front, red at the back).
  • Wear clothes that help you be seen on your bike such as bright and light reflective items.
  • Get a good set of mud guards and consider heavy duty tyres with a deeper tread to cope with slippery surfaces.
  • Remember, it can take longer to stop in poor weather.
  • Investing in some warm, waterproof clothing including gloves that still allow you to switch gears and use the brakes easily.
  • Obey road signs and markings, particularly red lights, and do not cycle on the pavements which may be slippy.
  • Consider wearing correctly-fitted helmets with an additional light.
  • Get a routine bike maintenance check, especially the brakes.

For pedestrians

  • Ensure that you, or someone you know clears the pavement outside your home
  • Wear shoes or boots with non-slip soles and consider wearing reflective or bright-coloured clothing so other road users are better able to see you.
  • Hats or scarves that cover your ears can also distort or eliminate the muffled sounds of approaching vehicles, so take extra care when checking for traffic.
  • Keep warm, but make sure that you can hear what's going on around you.
  • Follow all traffic signs and signals and, before you step off the kerb at crossings, make sure any oncoming vehicles have come to a complete stop.
  • Do not cross the road when distracted, for example, while using your phone.
  • Remember, vehicles can take up to ten times longer to stop on slippery surfaces, so don’t make any sudden movements and give motorists plenty of time
  • If walking home, particularly late at night, make sure someone knows when you are expected to arrive at your destination in case something happens which leaves you exposed to freezing temperatures for longer than planned

In the home

  • Being prepared for severe weather is something we all need to do – it takes only a few simple steps and could save you a lot of trouble later
  • Be prepared for severe weather by making your home more energy efficient, keeping it dry (protecting pipes and knowing how to turn off the water supply if you need to) and staying connected (keep a battery operated radio and a list of emergency contact numbers to hand)
  • Know how to turn off your electricity
  • If you live in an area at risk of flooding, plan how to make it harder for floodwater to get into the property
  • Make sure you have access to a shovel and salt or grit, for clearing snow and ice from paths and drives.

Looking out for older and more vulnerable people

It is important for older and vulnerable people or those in poor health, and those around them, to be aware of the potential risks associated with cold weather. In particular, extreme cold can make heart and respiratory problems worse and is a concern where people are not able to heat their homes adequately.

When visiting or calling elderly or vulnerable people, it’s important to check;

  • If they are generally feeling happy and well
  • That their homes are adequately heated
  • That they are getting at least one hot meal a day
  • That they have all the groceries that they need
  • That they have all the medication they need


Cùm Sàbhailte – Cùm Gu Math air a’ Gheamhradadh Seo

Keep Safe – Keep well this winter!