Slough Borough Council is issuing advice to residents following a cold weather alert from the Met Office.
A level three alert, indicating a 90% probability of severe cold weather, icy conditions or snow, will be in place in the south east, including Slough, until 9am on Friday 9 February.
It is expected to be very cold throughout the days and nights.
Cold weather can be bad for people’s health, with the over 65s, low income families and people living with a disability or a medical condition most at risk.
Rough sleepers are being urged to register to use the emergency cold weather provision offered by the council, which will run up to and including Wednesday 7 February, before being reviewed.
Anyone who thinks they may need shelter during this time is asked to register in advance. This can be done in person at MyCouncil (Landmark Place, High Street) from 9am on every weekday except for Thursdays.
The housing needs team will then find a suitable placement for the person.
To make sure rough sleepers know when the service is open, the main agencies who come into contact with homeless people – council staff, the police, SHOC, and others – get told when the cold weather plan is activated.
A special helpline called StreetLink is available for rough sleepers and members of the public who wish to report someone sleeping rough.
The helpline number is 0300 500 0914, or visit www.streetlink.org.uk
The council will be monitoring the forecast and extending the opening period if needed.
The council’s public health team has also issued some advice about keeping warm and well this winter and to help you look after yourself and others.
- Keep warm – heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You may prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer. Keep your bedroom window closed on a winter’s night. Breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
- Don’t delay in getting treatment for minor winter ailments like colds or sore throats - visit your local pharmacist for advice on treatment before it gets worse so you can recover more quickly.
- Layer your clothing whether you are indoors or outside - wrap a scarf around your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air.
- Wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside.
- When you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. Get up, stretch your legs and make yourself a warm drink.
- Put several layers of clothing on children; make sure their head, neck and hands are covered. If they then get warm, they can take one layer off at a time. Dress babies and young children in one more layer than an adult would wear.
- In drier winter air everyone loses more water through their breath. Keep drinking and try warm drinks and soup for extra appeal.
- Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks and stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy.
- Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms.
Councillor Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “Prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous to people’s health, especially for young children, the elderly and those with chronic diseases.
“As we get older it takes us longer to warm up and this raises the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. This makes it particularly important that our older and more vulnerable residents stay warm and take care of themselves.
“Some people find it difficult to cope with cold weather by themselves so we urge everyone to look out for their family, friends and neighbours who might need a helping hand.”
If you are concerned about your health or somebody you care for, advice can be obtained from www.nhs.uk/winterhealth, NHS 111 or your local pharmacist.