Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Drivers are 'unprepared for winter weather'

Only one in five motorists is prepared for severe weather on the roads this winter, according to the British Red Cross.

The global voluntary network, better known for responding to international conflicts and natural disasters, has staff and a fleet of vehicles ready to help the emergency services should last Christmas's atrocious conditions be repeated.



The British Red Cross's research shows that severe winter weather spoiled Christmas for almost half the population last year.



In a poll of 2,000 adults, fewer than two in five had taken steps to prepare themselves in the home for severe weather this year.



The survey found that the most common problems caused by winter weather last year were:



  • Road closures (29% of respondents)
  • Being unable to see family and friends (24%)
  • Being stranded at home (14%)
  • Illness (13%)

Sir Nick Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: "Last Christmas many were caught on the hop by the extreme winter weather.



"None of us can predict what conditions will be like this year. But what we can all do is take a set of small, practical steps to ensure that we are prepared."



The British Red Cross is urging the public to join its Ready for Winter campaign and arm themselves with a winter kitbag.



They said vital items included:



  • A list of emergency contact numbers
  • A battery operated torch and spare batteries
  • Any essential medication, some toiletries and a first aid kit
  • Three days' supply of bottled water and ready-to-eat foods that keep
  • Copies of important documents like insurance policies and birth certificates
  • Pencil, paper, a penknife and a whistle

The British Red Cross, which is launching a first aid app, said taking such measures could lighten the load on the emergency services.



The app gives advice on 18 everyday first aid situations.



The survey also revealed that the public are most worried about how the elderly will cope with the weather this Christmas, with 82% showing concern.

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