People Can Help Out In Cold Weather


Snow and ice are likely to affect us all at some point over the winter. Not only can they severely impact travel plans, but also really affect access to your home and to community buildings. Members of your community who are elderly and less mobile can be particularly affected by snow and ice. There are practical ways in which you can support your community in preparing for this and ensure they don’t get isolated.

Checking on vulnerable neighbours

If the weather is cold, take a few minutes to check on neighbours and relatives who are elderly, isolated or unwell and see if they need anything. This can be particularly important if the individual is unable to leave their home.

Winter can be a lonely time for the elderly, so neighbours can play a really important role for them feeling like they’re not alone.

You may be able to help neighbours with their shopping, or by offering them a lift somewhere, or it might just be as simple as introducing yourself and having a cup of tea and a chat.

Clearing snow and ice from the pavement outside your home or public spaces can help prevent slips and falls.

Don’t be put off clearing paths because you’re afraid someone will get injured. Remember, people walking on snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves.

Follow the advice below to make sure you clear the pathway safely and effectively.

Clear the snow and ice early in the day

It’s easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it. So if possible, start removing the snow and ice in the morning. If you remove the top layer of snow in the morning, any sunshine during the day will help melt any ice beneath. You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight.

Preventing slips

  • Pay extra attention to clearing snow and ice from steps and steep pathways – you might need to use more salt on these areas
  • Don’t make the pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze. If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice. Black ice increases the risk of injuries as it is invisible and very slippery.
  • If you run out of grit, you can melt snow or prevent black ice by spreading some salt on the area you have cleared. You can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt – a tablespoon for each square metre you clear should work.
  • Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may damage them.
  • If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash. These won’t stop the path icing over as effectively as salt, but will provide good grip underfoot.

Take care where you move the snow

When you’re shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure you make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides. Take care when shovelling snow. Cold air makes it harder to work and breathe.

Offer to clear your neighbours’ paths

If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you’re worried about them, try contacting their relatives or friends if necessary contact Bradford Council.

Dress appropriately

Wear several layers of clothing and keep it dry to prevent loss of body heat.  Wear suitable footwear and the use of ‘shoe grippers’.