Winter can throw all sorts at us in Dorset. It could be plunging temperatures, high winds or flooding, leading to being stuck at or away from home, power disruption, fire, or managing our health at home.
We try our best to maintain services, but we could be disrupted too. Be ready with these simple steps:
- sign up to alerts and priority support
- watch for updates on disrupted services from us
- have a household emergency action plan for being ready at and away from home
- put together a grab bag with essential items and information
- take essential steps to be safe at home and on the road
- be warm and well
- be part of our community resilience
Get alerts and news
Dorset Council updates and service disruption information
Sign up to Dorset Council News, our e-newsletter.
Our disrupted services web page shows the status of our key services and guidance if a service is disrupted.
Flood and weather warnings
Sign up for severe weather warnings or search #WeatherReady on Twitter.
Emergency services updates
Tune into radio stations for news
BBC Radio Solent 96.1 & 103.8 FM
BBC2 88-91 FM
Heart Radio 102.3 FM
Greatest Hits Radio 97.2 FM
Sign up to Priority Services Registers for free extra help for people in vulnerable situations when there’s an interruption to your energy or water supply. You can join the Priority Services Register if you:
- are deaf or hard of hearing
- have a disability
- live with children under five
- are blind or partially sighted
- have a chronic illness
- use medical equipment or aids reliant on electricity
- are over 60
You need to sign up with each energy or water supplier you use.
People, such as park home residents, who do not have direct contracts or meters with their utilities providers may need to obtain the customer reference numbers for their utilities contracts from the person who pays the bill, such as the park home owner.
If you need help, you can get free, independent and confidential advice from Citizens Advice Dorset.
A household emergency plan will help you and your family in an emergency such as evacuation or being stranded away from home. It ensures you have essential phone numbers, documents, information and possessions to hand, and know what to do.
If you are asked to leave your home by the emergency services, take your completed action plan and emergency grab bag, and leave as quickly as possible.
Your household emergency plan should include:
- a list of the dangers in and around your home such as flooding and industrial units, the actions you will take to prepare for each danger and notes for more things you need to do such as buy batteries
- essential information and numbers
- sources of information
- emergency grab bag
- arrangements for emergency friends and family meeting points
- which items would need to be moved upstairs in the event of a flood
- the emergency procedures for your school, nursery, or workplace
- where and how will you turn off utilities, if it is safe to do so
- securing your home when you leave, if it safe to do so
- the quickest route out of your home and neighbourhood
Write down names, numbers, and details now so you have them in a rush. Keep copies in your grab bag and with your emergency friend.
- all emergency services 999
- police non-emergency 101
- NHS 111
- power cuts (all suppliers) 105
- SES Water emergencies 01737 772000
- Wessex Water emergencies 0345 600 4600
- gas (all suppliers) emergencies 0800 111 999
- Dorset Direct 01305 221000 is our out of hours service for adults and children's services, housing and homelessness, highways, flooding, coast, and countryside concerns such as rock falls. dangerous structures and issues with council buildings, urgent environmental health issues such as noise complaints and lost dogs, and urgent parking issues
Other important information
- have two emergency meeting points if you can’t go home, one close by and one further away
- emergency friends, one close to home and one further away who you can swap house keys with, provide a place to stay, look after each other’s children and keep copies of your most important documents or pictures safe, and be an emergency contact for family members
- insurance company and policy numbers
- doctors surgery
- gas, electricity, and water suppliers
- schools or colleges, carers or childminder
- work contacts
An emergency could happen at any time. Make an emergency grab bag with essentials in case you must evacuate your home and make a car grab bag that stays in your car
Home grab bag
- copy of your household emergency action plan
- copies of your essential information and numbers and important family documents in a waterproof bag
- first aid kit and medication
- respiratory and hearing aids, spectacles or contact lenses
- cash and credit cards
- basic toiletries including toilet paper, wipes, hand gel and sanitary supplies
- mobile phone and charger
- baby or childcare supplies or other special care items
- wind and rainproof clothing and footwear
- battery torch and radio with spare batteries or a wind up torch and radio
- bottled water and emergency food, enough for three days
- extra set of house and car keys
- rubbish bags
- pet supplies
- notebook and pens
Car grab bag
Remember you may not be able to get home so include essential items from your home grab bag list:
- emergency contact list including family, neighbours, utilities, and insurance
- copies of important documents including passports, insurance, and birth certificates
- household emergency life-saving plan plus your emergency grab bag and leave as quickly as possible
- wind and rainproof clothing and footwear
- a blanket or a sleeping bag
- mobile phone, torch, radio, and extra batteries
- shovel and windscreen scraper
- tow chain and rope
- jump leads
- non-perishable food and water
Add your ICE contacts to your phone or in your purse or wallet so emergency services can find emergency contact details for you, if you cannot tell them. Make sure your ICE contacts have a list of people to contact on your behalf and know any important medical information.
Simply add ICE at the beginning of your emergency contact’s name and add their number. For example, write ICESarah 08785 616161.
If your ICE contact is deaf, write ICETEXTSarah and their number.
If you want more than one ICE contact, simply write them as ICE1Sarah and their number, ICE2Zahid and their number and so on.
- know how to find and turn off water, gas and electricity supplies in your home
- know what to do if a pipe freezes or bursts
- be a good neighbour, who might need help or could help you?
- know what to do in a power cut
- plan and test exit routes from every room
- plan food, medical and practical supplies such as torches for 72 hours if you are able to
- make sure your home is fire safe with this online fire safety check
- make your home safe with eight top tips to avoid flying trampolines, leaking roofs and more
Do you really need to make the journey? If so:
- prepare a winter care kit
- try to wait for the roads to be treated before travelling
- if you get stuck in your vehicle, stay in it and call 999
- if you use pedal power follow these tips to winterproof your bike
- make these vehicle checks before you set out
- read these tips for travelling in storms, rain and strong winds
- take your car emergency grab bag
- make plans for pets for if you get stuck away from home
- tell somebody when you expect to arrive and your route
Getting outside is great for our health but weather can turn quickly so follow these tips for a safe day out.
Be safe in severe weather
When there is a rain warning in place, there are things you can do to be prepared for flooding at and away from home.
If you need to drive somewhere know how to prepare, drive and stay safe if you are cut off.
When there is a wind warning in place, here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your property and to drive safely.
People of all ages can be vulnerable in bad weather. Disabilities and health conditions can be hidden. Tips to help people you know who live alone:
- include them in your household emergency action plan
- offer to be their ICE (in case of emergency) contact
- offer to be their emergency friend
- check in on them
- help with food shopping, collecting medication and getting to important appointments
Ideally your home and those of elderly relatives and neighbours should be at least 18°C. During cold spells, keep your windows closed at night as this can cause a real drop in the temperature indoors. If you have a heating boiler, consider getting it serviced.
Things you can do to help stay warm:
Keeping warm can prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you're 65 or older, or if have a long-term health condition.
Things you can do to help stay well:
Community resilience or involvement empowers individuals, businesses and community groups to take collective action to identify and support vulnerable individuals and promote resilience.
In Dorset, voluntary organisations offer support in times of need in addition to our emergency services. You can help in all sorts of ways from using your 4 by 4 vehicle to help others, to fundraising and providing administrative support.