Bags of ways to prepare for winter…

Red Cross winter bags. From left, Irene Strahord, manager of selkirk red cross shop, volunteers Pat Alexander, Sheila McIntyre, Maureen Ewart and Norman McKinley, director red cross scotland.
Red Cross winter bags. From left, Irene Strahord, manager of selkirk red cross shop, volunteers Pat Alexander, Sheila McIntyre, Maureen Ewart and Norman McKinley, director red cross scotland.
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FAMILIES and businesses are being urged to gear up for winter in Scotland’s first severe weather warning preparation campaign.

The British Red Cross and the Scottish Government took a roadshow, including a snow dome, to Galashiels last week and representatives gave out grab-bags in which to store emergency kit at Selkirk’s Red Cross shops.

Speaking at the launch of the Ready for Winter? campaign, Scotland’s Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, said: “The evidence of the last two winters has shown that individuals and communities are stronger when they help themselves and help others.

“We also know that people want to be better prepared for whatever conditions they might have to face, and are looking for advice and information to help them get ready for winter.”

The campaign is aiming to remind people of the risks, make suggestions how to reduce them, give information on the support and resources available in the Borders and encourage people to be ready.

People are urged to plan, have a list of emergency contacts, protect pipes, find out where to turn off water and power and have in extra food and any medicine they might need.

Other measures suggested are ensuring vehicles are well maintained, carrying an emergency kit in the boot, and checking road and weather conditions before travelling.

The grab bag should contain a torch, battery radio, first aid kit, long-life food and bottles of water, important documents such as insurance policies, a list of emergency contact numbers (downloadable templates are on the Red Cross website) and spare keys to homes and cars.

British Red Cross director in Scotland Norman McKinley, said: “If everyone asks themselves how prepared they are in the home, on the road and in the community and takes steps to prepare for the season ahead, the problems of winter can be greatly reduced.”

Households are being encouraged to call the Home Energy Scotland Hotline (on 0800 512 012) and sign up for free home insulation.

It is reminding people with holiday homes to similarly protect the house while it is not being used to reduce the risk of burst pipes and water damage.

Scottish Water’s customer service delivery director, Peter Farrer, said: “We have been working since the end of last winter to look at what we need to do, as a business, learning from that experience, to prepare for whatever this winter brings. We are also asking our customers to play their part in protecting their homes by taking some simple steps. We all need to be ready.”

Some forecasters are predicting another tough winter with temperatures colder than average and snow from this month.

More information on getting ready for winter is at www.redcross.org.uk/preparescotland or www.readyscotland.org