For the past few weeks there have been consistent cold weather alerts issued from the Met Office all across England. These cold weather alerts in West Berkshire have generally been level 1 alerts, with higher and more severe alerts appearing more frequently across northern England.
Now that February is here however, the severity of these alerts have steadily been escalating. There is now a level 3 cold weather alert in West Berkshire.
As such, we at Healthwatch West Berkshire feel that it’s prudent to write this post, to provide you with additional information about cold weather alerts, as well as information about what to do when these alerts appear.
Firstly these Alerts come directly from the Met Office. You can find out whether or not there is currently an alert in your area yourself by visiting this Website or by following the Met Office on Twitter. You can also find more information about the Met Office on both of those websites.
Secondly these Alerts are ranked according to their severity, from level 1 being the lowest and level 4 being the highest.
The Alert levels have the following descriptions:
Level 1 –
“Green — Winter preparedness and action”
“This is the minimum state of vigilance during the winter. During this time social and healthcare services will ensure that there is ongoing awareness and preparedness.”
Level 2 –
“Yellow — Alert and readiness”
“Triggered by the Met Office as soon as the risk is 60% or above for any of the thresholds to be breached. This is an important stage for social and healthcare services who will be working to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential period of cold weather.”
Level 3 –
“Amber — Severe weather action”
“Triggered by the Met Office when we are experiencing weather which breaches any of the thresholds. This stage requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups.”
Level 4 –
“Red — National Emergency”
“Reached when a period of cold weather is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside the health and social care system. A level 4 warning would be issued on advice from, or in collaboration with, our Government partners. At this level, the health effects may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups.”
Lastly if you are wondering what to do when it gets cold and these alerts appear, here is advice from the Met Office.
“Prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases. You can help keep warm by heating all the rooms that you use in your home, ensuring that your bedroom temperature is above 18 °C overnight. Dress warmly, ensuring you wear plenty of thin layers, rather than one thick one. If there is anyone you know who might be at special risk, for example an older person living on their own, make sure they know what to do.”
For more advice in regards to what to do when it’s cold and these alerts occur, you can click HERE