Preparing for winter
Recycling and refuse collections in the event of severe weather
Keep well this winter
With the onset of the colder weather here are some basic precautions to keep you and your home safe.
Bad weather can lead to power shortages and problems getting to the shops. So get together the following 'emergency pack' just in case -
- spare lighting - torches with spare batteries - avoid using candles
- drinks - cans of juice, bottled water in case of frozen pipes
- long life food packets and tinned food
- portable radio and spare batteries so you can keep up to date
- blankets and warm/dry clothing
- medication you need and if you have a young family baby items
- check that you are adequately insured for any damage to your home and contents from bad weather e.g. from burst pipes
- discuss any support you might need with your family or neighbours and make sure you have their phone numbers to hand
- the Council's staff will provide advice and information during office hours by calling 01932 838383
- our Safer Runnymede centre is also available for advice outside of office hours and during emergencies and can be contacted by calling 01932 838383. Make a note of this number and leave it by the phone or put it on your phone's speed dial.
For your property:
- ensure you know where the stop cock/tap is that it is easy to operate. You will need to turn this off quickly if you have a burst pipe
- isolate external taps or ensure that they are well lagged
- make sure that taps are not left dripping and are securely turned off. If you are going away for any length of time it is advisable that the system is "drained down", i.e. that the water tank is emptied to avoid water freezing in the tank and pipes. Alternatively you can leave the central heating running at a low level.
For further information on protecting your pipes, Affinity Water has information on their website and offers 'How to guides' on plumbing issues.
- if you have central heating it is advisable to leave this on very low, even when at work or overnight, this is so that pipes and tanks do not freeze up causing bursts or floods
- if you have any rooms without heating in them, leave the doors open at night to allow the heat from the house to flow through
- if you go away for a few days, leave your heating on a low setting - 10°C is usually sufficient
- check that the thermostat is working properly and that if radiators have individual thermostats that these are now turned up and are working correctly
- check that there are no air locks in the central heating system and keep a key to bleed the radiator if necessary. But do note that some of our newer heating systems are sealed systems, please only attempt to bleed the radiator if you know what you are doing.
- know where your fuse box is and how it works - modern trip switches are usually very easy to operate
- ensure that when going away for any length of time plugs are removed and switches, electric heating and immersion heaters are all turned off
- make sure all Christmas lighting is in good order before you use it and make sure its turned off when you leave the house for any period of time
- make sure that you do not use electric equipment with wet hands or expose electricity to water, especially if you are installing outside Christmas lights
- do not overload sockets by using extension leads or adaptors.
- keep drains free from build up of rubbish and clear any autumn leaves that may have fallen into open gulleys - over spilling drains will lead to an icy path
- if snow is forecast, bring a spade or shovel into the house so you are prepared before it happens
- look to buy your own bag of salt or grit for your garden paths
- if you can't buy proper salt, improvise with a mix of table salt and sand
make arrangements for your home to be watched over if you are going away
- please also help us to help others.
- pass on this advice
- check on anyone who lives near you who might need help in the bad weather - have they enough food? Do they have all of the medication they might need? Are they using their heating and keeping warm enough?
if you are worried about someone contact us on the numbers above or Surrey County Council's Adult Service Centre on 01932 794800.
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Surrey County Council has an information service to help residents and visitors decide how best to manage their daily lives in and around Surrey during bad weather, such as snow and ice, cold temperatures, heavy rain or high wind and gales. We want to reduce the inconvenience you might find getting about in severe winter weather.
You can also find further local information on the Surrey Alert website and traffic updates are available on the BBC's website.
Up to date seasonal Highways information on coping in the snow, gritting routes and grit bins, flooding, reporting potholes and updates on roadworks can be found by visiting the Surrey Highways site.
This Weather Widget is provided by the Met Office
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Recycling and refuse collections
In the event of severe weather Runnymede Borough Council will:
- attempt to maintain services when it is safe for both staff and members of the public
- update information on websites and social media pages as soon as possible and regularly to keep residents up-to-date
- collect recycling and refuse if missed as soon as it is safe.
After sustained periods of severe weather:
- garden waste services may be suspended to allow for extra capacity to be used to collect recycling and refuse.
General advice during severe weather:
- If possible keep your bins in a sheltered location within your boundary.
- If bins lids or contents become frozen do not use boiling water, as this will caused further freezing and could damage the bin. Similarly using excessive force is dangerous and is likely to damage the bin, as frozen plastic is more susceptible to snapping or fracturing.
- Please make sure that your green kitchen food waste container is visible from the road. In periods of heavy snowfall small containers can become buried and will not be visible.
- Once your bins and kitchen waste is put out for collection please leave them at the edge of your property until collected, unless causing an obstruction or nuisance.
- Where possible maximise the materials set aside for recycling: this will reduce the amount of refuse that builds-up.
- Local community and recycling bring sites are available to provide an alternative to kerbside collections although only undertake trips to these areas if it is safe and on priority routes for gritting. Surrey County Council's website will have details of the community recycling centres, what materials they accept and whether they are also affected by the weather.
The responsibility for clearing and gritting of roads is with the Highways Agency for major routes and Surrey County Council for other routes. District Councils will offer help where possible. Enquires should be addressed to the Highways Agency (www.highways.gov.uk/about-us/contact-us) or Surrey County Council (www.surreycc.gov.uk/winter) in the first instance.
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Keep well this winter
Top tips for you and your family.
Get a free flu jab
If you are pregnant, over 65, a carer or have a long-term health problem, you can get a free vaccination from your GP and be protected from flu this winter.
Keep warm, keep well
Cold weather is much more dangerous than many people realise. Around 20,000 people die each year in England and Wales as a result of the cold.
The elderly, people living on their own and anyone with a heart or chest condition are more vulnerable.
- Stay warm when it's cold outside - lots of thin layers work better than one thick one.
- Check on people living on their own, especially elderly relatives and neighbours.
- Eat well - hot food and drinks will help keep you well.
- Stock up - with food and basic medicines such as paracetamol and flu and diarrhoea remedies so you can look after yourself if you can't get out for a day or two.
Visiting relatives in hospital?
Bugs such as norovirus (the winter vomiting bug) can be a problem at this time of year. If you're visiting someone in hospital please help to stop infection spreading. That means using alcohol rub to clean your hands and following the "Catch it. Bin it. Kill it." advice if you have a cold. And not visiting at all if you have flu or a tummy bug.
Injured or feeling ill?
If you've been injured or are feeling ill, it's important to 'choose well' to get fast, effective treatment.
NHS services are often at their busiest over the winter, so it's especially important to leave emergency services to those who need them most.
A quick guide to choosing well
Self-care is the first choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. A lot of illnesses can be treated in your home with medicine bought at your local pharmacy and plenty of rest.
NHS Direct offers confidential health advice and information by telephone, on the internet and through digital TV, 24 hours a day. They can also help you to find local health services.
Pharmacists can give you advice on illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them. Visit your local pharmacy if you’re suffering from a common health problem which does not require being seen by a nurse or doctor. Pharmacy bank holiday opening times are regularly published on www.nhs.uk or www.surreyhealth.nhs.uk/
GPs can provide many services, including medical advice, examinations, vaccinations and prescriptions. Normally you need to book an appointment in advance. When your surgery is closed you can ring Thamesdoc on 0300 130 1305 to get advice from a clinician.
NHS Walk-in Centre, Urgent Treatment Centre or Minor Injuries Unit
They can all treat minor illnesses and injuries and give you health advice. Most are open from early in the morning until late at night. You do not need an appointment, and you will be seen by an experienced nurse or a GP.
In Surrey, these services are available at:
- Ashford Hospital Walk-in Centre
- Caterham Dene Walk-in Centre
- Weybridge Hospital Walk-in Centre
- Woking Hospital Walk-in Centre.
NHS Surrey Walk-in Centres contact details
A&E or 999
There are Accident and Emergency departments at most major hospitals. They help people who show signs of being very ill or are badly injured. Emergency services are always very busy and especially over winter. They should only be used in very serious or life-threatening situations.
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