As freezing temperatures continue to bite across the region, with many places still below zero, a series of safety warnings have been issued.
Emergency services, councils and health professionals are all advising people to take extra care and look out for vulnerable friends, relatives or neighbours..
Figures show that on average, during a bad winter, 300 people in Cumbria will die as a result of the cold weather.
In Dumfries and Galloway, last winter saw 130 extra deaths and 60 in the Scottish Borders.
Who is most at risk?
Cold weather affects everyone in some way, but the NHS says you're most vulnerable if:
- you're aged 65 or older
- you're on a low income (so can't afford heating)
- you have long-term health condition
- you're disabled
- you're pregnant
- you have young children
- you have a mental health condition
What can you do to prepare?
Cumbria County Council have given these tips to stay safe during colder weather:
- Look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately
- Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over
- Stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance (have deliveries or ask a friend to help)
- Take weather into account when planning your activity over the following days
- Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls
- Discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby, if unable to do so yourself
If you're worried about a neighbour or relative, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174.