Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership today launched its annual ‘Keep Well- Keep Safe this Winter’ public awareness campaign which is aimed at alerting the community to the additional safety measures we must consider throughout the winter months.

The campaign highlights the importance of preparing our homes, keeping warm, eating well, staying active whilst avoiding trips and falls, travelling safely and looking out for those more vulnerable members within our community.

Commenting on the Winter safety initiative, Councillor Charlie Nicolson, Chair of the Community Safety Partnership, said: “The Keep safe – Keep Well this Winter’ aims to raise awareness to the particular hazards adverse Winter conditions present us with – in and around the home, as well as on the move. Pedestrians, Cyclists’ Joggers and Drivers of all types of vehicles must exercise extra caution.”

“When venturing out on foot the wearing of reflective or bright-coloured clothing will help other road users to see you. Headphones or hats and scarves that cover your ears can also distort or eliminate the muffled sounds of approaching vehicles, so take extra care when checking for traffic. Joggers should carry torches and along with Cyclists, wear fluorescent vests.”

The campaign alerts Drivers to the need for their vehicles to be ‘Winter Ready’ and packed with a few essential items - by way of an emergency car kit – including, a fully charged mobile phone, an ice scraper and de-icer, a torch and spare batteries, For longer journeys, warm clothes, boots and a blanket, a first aid kit a shovel for snow, some food and a warm drink in a flask, battery jump leads and a tow rope.

The importance of remembering the increase hazards of croft animals and deer on and near roads, during the winter months is also highlighted.

Andy MacDonald, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Risk & Emergency Planning Manager added a reassuring message on behalf of the multi-agency ‘Western Isles Emergency Planning Coordinating Group” WIEPCG;

“This year, people across the Western Isles are being reminded to act now and prepare for winter and severe weather.

·         Severe weather covers heavy rain, flooding, high winds, snow and ice.

·         Whether it’s at home, on the move, in the workplace, or in your community, we all need to consider the risk of severe weather.

·         Severe weather can occur at any time of year, but is most likely during the winter months. It can cause a range of problems – but you can be ready for them. 

·         Are you ready for severe weather? Could you deal with its consequences?

·         Don’t wait until it happens – doing a few small things now could save you a lot of trouble later, and it only takes a few simple steps 

By ‘thinking ahead’ we can all be better prepared and be aware of those more vulnerable within our neighbourhood/community.”

Councillor Nicolson further stressed the importance of looking out for our more vulnerable neighbours and relatives, adding: “We all need to work together at this time of year to ensure that everyone in the community is kept safe, healthy and warm throughout the entire winter season."