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Get Winter Ready

Are you ready for winter? Get Isle of Man Winter Ready with our top tips

Winter Ready: Your Complete Guide

The days are getting shorter, and the temperature is dropping. With the crisp sea breeze and northern air, it’s important you get yourself ‘Isle of Man Winter’ ready.

Stay informed and safe during the colder months on the Island. Here's your one-stop guide to #GetIOMWinterReady:

This page is regularly updated with new information

Preparing for the weather

Snow 1977 Isle of Man

Check the Weather Forecast

Before you step out, always check the weather forecast. Staying informed about the conditions will help you plan your day effectively, ensuring you're prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store. You can also sign-up to Everbridge, which will send you notifications when there are any emergency alerts and weather warnings.

Visit IOM Floodhub for the latest updates page for more detailed information on flooding risk on the Island.

Photo: Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Dressing appropriately

Snow in Kirk Michael

Invest in warm winter clothing

Our Island's weather can be unpredictable, so dressing appropriately is essential. Layer up to stay warm and dry, and remember to put on waterproof gear when the rain starts pouring. Being properly dressed can make a significant difference in your comfort and well-being.

Photo: Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Getting your vehicle ready

The Great Snow, the road from Castletown to Malew church, Isle of Man 1895

Winterise your vehicle

Prepare your vehicle for the challenges of icy roads, slippery surfaces and cold temperatures. Ensure your car is ready for winter by checking the tyres, brakes, and battery. Keep an emergency kit in your car with essentials like blankets, a wind up torch, extra warm clothing, ice scraper and de-icer, snow shovel, jump-leads and non-perishable snacks.

Photo: Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Getting your home ready

Snow Douglas Head 1976

Home Heating

Keeping your home warm and energy-efficient is vital. Ensure your heating system is in good working order Replace air filters and have your furnace or heating source inspected to prevent breakdowns during the colder months. 

Advice from Public Health IOM recommends, setting your heating to a suitable temperature (18-21 °C, 65-70 °F), will keep your home warm. Keep your bedroom windows closed at night when the weather is cold. Your heating systems should be serviced and if you have a coal fire arrange for the chimney to be swept or alternatively ask your landlord to do this if it is their responsibility.

For wood-burners, coal or gas heaters make sure the rooms are well ventilated.

Safeguarding your oil tank

Preventing oil tank theft is paramount for winter preparedness, especially given the recent surge in reported incidents within both domestic and commercial properties on the Isle of Man. With heating oil being a vital resource for warmth during the colder months, safeguarding your tank is essential. Theft not only leads to financial losses but also leaves individuals and families without a crucial heating source, potentially causing discomfort and health risks during the winter.

Implementing security measures, such as locks, alarms, or placing tanks in well-lit areas, helps deter theft, ensuring uninterrupted access to heating oil for a safe and comfortable winter season.

Insulate Windows and Doors

Consider insulating windows and doors to keep the warmth inside, reducing energy costs and environmental impact. Seal any gaps or cracks around windows and doors to prevent drafts.

Home Energy Officer is available to discuss simple steps you can take to help you reduce your energy consumption. You could also check-out the Green-Living Scheme (Department for Enterprise) or the Energy Efficiency Scheme (Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture) to make your home smarter, greener and warmer this winter.

Advice from Public Health IOM recommends, you also insulate your hot water cylinder and pipers, as well as drawing your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms, and to make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.

If you experience a problem with your gas connection contact 0808 1624 444.

Stock up on supplies

In case the weather takes a turn for the worst, having a well-stocked house and car is crucial. Make sure you have enough essential supplies to sustain yourself and your family, reducing the need to venture out during hazardous conditions.

Create a winter emergency kit with essential supplies like non-perishable food, bottled water, candles, matches, and a portable heater. Ensure you have an adequate supply of prescription medications.

Safety in the home

Advice from Public Health IOM’s ‘Keep Warm and Safe’ webpage recommends you to make sure the batteries in your smoke alarms are tested regularly and that electric blankets are serviced at least every three years. Remember never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket.

For more advice contact our local Fire and Rescue Service who offer community advice and help with the fitting and testing of these items.

Install a carbon monoxide detector in case air vents become blocked, for more advice view Isle of Man Energy Carbon Monoxide safety pages. Do not 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.

Learn a few simple first aid steps; such as how to deal with strains and sprains or broken bones, as trips and falls can increase in icy weather. The St John Ambulance website offers easy simple advice on first aid.

Don't be afraid to ask for help either by contacting friends, relatives, neighbours, your GP, Social Worker, District Nurse, or Housing Officer and remember, in a life threatening situation you should always dial 999 immediately.

Also see: NHS Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Photo: Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Managing snow and ice

Mean clearing snow

Clear snow and ice

Clearing snow and ice from driveways, walkways, and public areas is essential for safety. It prevents accidents and ensures that everyone can move around without the risk of slipping or falling. Have shovels, snow blowers, and de-icing materials on hand to keep driveways and walkways clear of snow and ice.

Frozen Pipes

Clearing frozen pipes during winter is essential to maintain a reliable water supply and prevent potential damage. Frozen pipes can cause water blockages, leading to burst pipes and subsequent water damage to your property. Manx Utilities provides valuable guidance on dealing with frozen pipes, emphasising the need to thaw them safely.

Winter Gritting Routes

Understanding the winter gritting routes is crucial for winter preparedness. Being aware of these routes enables you to plan their journeys effectively, ensuring safer and smoother travel during icy conditions. You can view the winter gritting routes here.

Photo: Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Looking after your health and wellness

Children in Mona Street Douglas, had great fun after the big snow with igloo in the garden

Vitamin D

The winter months bring shorter days and less sunlight. Make sure to get your daily dose of Vitamin D, whether through supplements or spending time outdoors when the sun is shining.

Stay Active

Staying active is a great way to boost your mood and overall well-being during the colder months. Whether its indoor exercises or outdoor activities, keeping active can help combat the winter blues.

Mind your mental health

Winter can take a toll on your mental health and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can affect some individuals during winter. It's important to be mindful of your emotional well-being and seek support or guidance if you're struggling with the winter months. Make an effort to spend time with loved ones, seek professional help if needed, and engage in activities that bring you joy.

Stay hydrated and eat well

Maintain a balanced diet and stay well-hydrated. Proper nutrition is essential for your overall health and well-being, especially during the winter months when colds and illnesses are more common. Hot soups and herbal teas can be comforting during the cold season.

Get plenty of sleep

A good night's sleep is crucial for your health and energy levels. Ensure you get enough rest to stay active and alert during the day. Ensure you get enough rest to support your immune system and overall well-being.

Practice good hand hygiene

Winter is flu season, and viruses are more prevalent. Practicing good hand hygiene is essential to prevent the spread of illness. Regular handwashing and using hand sanitizer can help reduce the risk of illness.

Find out more about staying well this winter. 

Photo: Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Preparing for the unexpected

Snow Peel 1972

Prepare for power outages

Winter storms can lead to power outages. Be prepared by having necessary supplies like battery operated torch with spare batteries/wind up torch, candles, and non-perishable food (that doesn’t require power to cook) on hand. A backup power source, like a generator, can also be a wise investment.

During extended power outages in the winter, it’s recommended that you minimise fridge and freezer openings to retain cold temperatures, potentially preserving food, and consider using alternative cold storage methods like ice chests or dry ice to maintain food safety.

If you experience no power supply, these issues can be reported by calling +44 1624 687687.

Basic first aid kit

Keep a basic first aid kit in your home, car and bag. It's a valuable resource in case of accidents or injuries, ensuring you have the essentials to address minor medical issues, particularly if you have any icy slips or trips.

Clearing gutters and drains

Prevent water damage by regularly clearing gutters and drains. It ensures that rainwater flows freely, reducing the risk of flooding and damage to your property.

Know where your nearest salt bin is

During heavy snowfall, it's crucial to have access to salt for de-icing. Know the location of your nearest salt bin to keep driveways, pavements and roads safe.

Secure your garden furniture

Securing garden furniture ahead of the winter months is crucial. Fastening or anchoring garden furniture and trampolines prevents them from being blown away or causing damage during strong winds.

Use sturdy ropes or straps to tie down larger items, while smaller pieces can be stored indoors or in a secure shed. Securing these items not only safeguards your property but also ensures the safety of others, reducing the risk of accidents or damage caused by loose, flying objects during severe weather conditions.

Know where you can collect sandbags

In the event of flooding, knowing where you can quickly collect sandbags can help protect your property and minimise water damage.

Sandbags are available free from all civic amenity sites.

According to guidance provided by the IOM Flood Hub, if you're facing the immediate risk of flooding and lack sandbags, consider using plastic bags (such as bin liners) filled with garden materials like soil, sand, or turf. While this method might impact your garden, it can offer temporary protection for your property until floodwaters recede. Arrange and shape these filled bags to create a barrier at entry points, including doorsteps, ventilation openings, and any areas where water might seep into your property.

Stay warm

By staying warm, you not only ward off discomfort but also reduce the risk of cold-related illnesses and maintain your overall health during the colder months. Properly layered warm clothing helps insulate your body against the cold. High tog duvets on your bed keep you cosy during chilly nights, ensuring a good night's sleep. Hot water bottles, when used safely, provide an extra dose of warmth, especially when relaxing or resting.

Winter readiness is all about being prepared for whatever the season brings. Follow these practical tips to stay safe and comfortable during the winter months on the Isle of Man. Your well-being is our priority.

Fuel Poverty – the Social Security Division, Treasury offers a winter bonus to those who qualify or are entitled to income support. For further details visit the Winter Bonus page.

Free local Energy Efficiency Advice on heating and insulation at the Manx Energy Advice Centre, The Green Centre, Chester Street Complex, Douglas or by telephoning +44 1624 851482.

Find out more tips on how to keep warm and safe.

Photo: Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

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