Winter advice

Keeping well, warm and healthy this winter

With the winter weather as unpredictable as ever, it’s best to be prepared.

Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as:

  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • pneumonia
  • depression.

We have a range of services that offer help and advice to those most in need and we’ve compiled some top tips to keep warm this winter:

Keep Warm

  • Wear several thin layers because they trap warm aim close to the body.
  • Draw your curtains as soon as it’s dark to stop the heat escaping and the draughts coming in.
  • Keep any windows and internal doors closed.
  • Try wearing a hat and scarf if you’re cold indoors, A lot of heat is lost through the head and neck
  • Wear warm clothes in bed. When it’s really cold, wear thermal underwear, bed socks and even a hat
  • Keep your home warm – your living room should be 18-21C (65-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F)
  • Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm while you’re in bed.
  • Your body keeps warm by burning food you’ve eaten.
    Make sure you have regular hot meals that contain carbohydrates like potatoes, pasta, bread and rice.
    Try porridge with hot milk for breakfast and soups and stews for lunch

Be prepared

If you can afford it, you’ll feel more relaxed if you stock up for the winter months:

  • Batteries for your smoke alarm
  • Salt or sand for icy steps and pathways
  • Tinned fruit and vegetables – it’s just as nutritious as fresh
  • Cold and flu medicines, as well as any repeat prescriptions
  • Pasta and rice

Snow, ice and autumn leaves

Snow, ice and autumn leaves can all be a slipping hazard.

There’s always a danger with health and safety advice that it sounds like ‘teaching granny to suck eggs’.

Our Winter Maintenance pages explain what the council does and what residents and businesses can do to minimise the risks.

Portable heaters and open fires

Heaters being placed too close to flammable materials cause several fires and deaths a year.

It’s important to stay safe while heating your home; depending on the type of heater in use, you should also be aware of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

London Fire Service advice on portable heaters and open fires.

A crackling fire in the hearth

If you’re lucky enough to have an open fire place at home, now’s the time to have your chimney checked and cleaned.

Sooty deposits aren’t the only problem with blocked chimneys; chimney fires can start, and silent and deadly carbon monoxide fumes can also build up.

London Fire Service advice on having your chimney cleaned;

once a year if you’re burning smokeless fuels, twice a year if you’re burning wood.

Keep cosy, but stay safe – ventilation and alarms

Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer that causes at least 50 deaths a year.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous substance produced by the incomplete burning of gas and Liquid Petroleum Gas.

This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained.

It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.

Oil and solid fuels such as coal, wood, petrol and oil can also produce carbon monoxide.

Make sure you know how to prevent and detect this gas with London Fire Service advice on Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Private landlords are legally obliged to provide working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Guidance for landlords and the general public on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Bonfires

There are no laws against having a bonfire, but there are laws for the nuisance they can cause.

Please don’t burn household waste –  get rid of your rubbish responsibly instead.

If a fire is dangerous, phone 999.

Most neighbours will be considerate if you explain that a fire is causing a problem.

But if it keeps happening, please report it to us as a neighbour nuisance.

Bonfire advice on Gov.uk.

Celebrating with fireworks and bonfires

Did you know that it’s an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in public places?

It’s also an offence for anyone, other than a firework professional, to possess professional display fireworks.

It’s also illegal to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am.

On 5 November, displays can continue until midnight.

On certain occasions fireworks can be set off until 1 am, such as:

  • New Year’s Eve
  • Diwali
  • Chinese New Year

London Fire Service advice on fireworks and bonfires.

Candles and naked flames

A flickering candle can look lovely during winter chill and darkness, but they are one of the biggest causes of fire within the home.

London Fire Service advice on using candles.