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Cold weather advice as Level 3 Cold Weather Alert issued | Sandwell Council

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Cold weather advice as Level 3 Cold Weather Alert issued

Published 6th March 2023

A Level 3 Cold Weather Alert has been issued for the West Midlands – including Sandwell.

This means there is a 90% chance that we could be experiencing severe cold weather, icy conditions and heavy snow from now until the end of Thursday 9 March. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable people and disrupt the delivery of services.

In addition to keeping the streets of Sandwell safe by gritting them overnight, Sandwell Council has issued the following advice for residents.

Look out for others:

  • Check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.
  • If you spot a rough sleeper, please report this to us online or call 0121 368 1166 - option 2 (Out of hours: 0121 569 6883) so we can help. The council is committed to providing emergency accommodation for all people sleeping rough whatever the weather, but this becomes especially important when temperatures drop.

General advice to look after yourself in the cold weather:

  • keep your home warm, efficiently and safely
  • heat your home to at least 18°C in winter and wear suitable clothing
  • get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated
  • use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years
  • never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
  • don’t use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home – it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and this can kill
  • make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or sold fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity – to make sure you do not run out in winter

You can visit a Warm Space if it is safe for you to get there – there are more than 60 in Sandwell including all libraries during opening hours.

Find a Warm Space near you.

Residents can keep in the warmth at home by:

  • drawing their curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms
  • making sure their radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains

In the longer-term, people can:

  • fit draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors
  • make sure they have loft and wall insulation
  • insulate hot water cylinder and pipes

Further advice:

  • food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks
  • aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables – tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day
  • stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy
  • exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter
  • if possible, try to move around at least once an hour – but remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans
  • wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat
  • wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls
  • make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out
  • check if you are eligible for inclusion on the priority services register operated by your water and power supplier

Get financial support

There are grants, benefits and sources of advice to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to. 

Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council, said: “It’s important that we all work together and check on each other to ensure that during this cost of living crisis everyone remains warm, safe and well. You can find further tips on how you can access support through our Supporting Sandwell information hub."

Cabinet member for Adults, Social Care and Health, Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, added: "During cold winter spells such as this, people with certain medical conditions and some older people can become more vulnerable. It is important that we remember to make sure people are warm and well."

  • During snowy or icy conditions, bin crews may not be able to get to your property to empty your bins safely. This may result in bin collections being delayed until conditions improve. If your bins are not emptied on your usual day, check our bins and waste services service update webpage.