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Provider Engagment Network

Supporting health and social care providers in Devon


Severe Winter Weather – Level 3 – Cold Weather Action alert

The met office have today issued the following alert, updating their previous forecast / alert!

There is a 90% probability of severe cold weather/icy conditions/snow between 1400 on Thursday 31 Jan and 0900 on Friday 01 Feb in parts of England. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

This alert supersedes the alert issued previously and raises the alert level in Southwest and Southeast England to a Level 3. All other regions retain their previously held alert levels. The upgrade for Southeast and Southwest is in light of the Met Office Amber NSWWS snow warning (for latest on this see link):
There has been an unusually high degree of uncertainty in relation to snowfall locations and amounts associated with a weather system approaching the southern third of the UK today (Thursday 31 January), however confidence has now reached a point to warrant this upgrade in some areas. This alert retains the same end time and will be revised and reissued by 0900 Friday 01 February for details regarding the first few days of February. Present thinking is that while there are still some cold nights, ice and snowfall possible, there is a trend towards conditions gradually becoming a little less cold.

Regional UpdateRisk of reaching threshold levelComments
Southwest England90%A band of rain will arrive from the southwest on Thursday afternoon, quickly turning to snow and becoming heavy at times. 3 to 7 cm is likely to accumulate quickly – within two to three hours – with up to 10 cm in some places. The highest snowfall accumulations are likely to be in areas above 150 metres or so.

Level 3: Severe weather action
This is triggered as soon as the weather described in level 2 actually happens. It indicates that severe winter weather is now happening and an impact on health and social care services is expected.

 The following actions are required (please note this is not an exhaustive note)

DCC Provider Service / Visiting Staff / Front Line StaffDCC Social Care (All)
Communicate alerts to staff and ensure that locally agreed actions take place, especially those to protect vulnerable patients/clients.Continue to communicate public health messages.
Implement local plans for contacting the vulnerable. Consider daily visits/ phone calls for high-risk individuals living on their own who have no regular contacts.Communicate alerts to staff and make sure that winter plans are in operation.
Ensure carers are receiving appropriate advice and support.Ensure key partners are undertaking action in response to alerts.
Implement plans to deal with surge in demand.Support local voluntary and community sector organisations to mobilise community emergency plans.
Implement business continuity arrangements.Ensure continuity arrangements are working with provider organisations.
As appropriate, contact those at risk (visit, phone call) daily.Work with partner agencies (eg transport) to ensure road/ pavement gritting arrangements are in effect to allow access to critical services and pedestrian hotspots.
Ensure staff can help and advise clientsAs appropriate, contact those at risk (visit, phone call) daily.
Continue to check client’s room temperature if visiting to ensure that clients are warm. Ensure that they have at least one room which meets recommended room temperatures (which should be at least 18°C to minimise risk to health).
Ensure urgent signposting for those at risk (eg in cold housing) to appropriate services.
Continue to remind clients of the actions they can take to protect themselves from the effects of severe cold.
Consider how forecast weather conditions may impact on your work – and make appropriate arrangements.
Make sure you and your teams are prepared for an influx of weather-related injuries and illnesses.


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