As the weather changes and the temperature drops, it's natural to turn your thoughts to older parents who might live away, as well as children or grandchildren who might have just gone to university or flown the nest for the first time.
But there are some easy ways you can look out for them afar, keeping them safe from a distance while giving you some peace of mind.
The British Red Cross share their expert tips on the best way to help your loved ones prepare for winter:
1. Download the British Red Cross app
Want to be able to let your loved ones know when bad weather like ice or snow is likely to strike? The British Red Cross' new emergency app gives you real–time alerts for severe weather and other potential problems not just where you are but at any location around the UK. Which means you can keep abreast of what's happening where your loved one lives and be able to help if neccessary.
If possible, encourage your loved one to download the app, too, as it provides practical advice of what to do next in sticky situations, such as flooding and power cuts. There's also an 'I'm safe' function that lets others know that you're safe.
The app is free to download on Google Play and App Store. Visit www.redcross.org.uk/emergencyapp
2. Prepare a kit
Make sure your loved one has everything they need at hand in case of a problem by preparing a special kit. Put together some warm clothes, a small package of food, a torch, insurance numbers and some bottled water and keep this somewhere safe but that's easy to find, say in the event of a power cut or a problem with the heating. Try to plan an alternative way they could keep warm should the heating go off, such as electric heaters or details of a neighbour they could go stay with, and keep these with the pack.
3. Power cut preparation
If you think your family member or friend might need some extra support in a power cut, sign up to get them some help. If they in London, the South of England or the East of England, sign them up for the UK Network Power's priority service. They have a dedicated phone number, provide regular updates and if neccessary, will ask British Red Cross volunteers to visit.
4. Write down numbers
Write down the telephone number of someone they can call in an emergency. This could be you or it could be someone who lives nearer to them, like a neighbour. Also write down the number for insurance companies and a good electrician or plumber for example.
5. Back up your documents
Just in case important paper documents go missing or get damaged, it's a good idea to keep a back-up of insurance papers and ID documents. Store these as password–protected documents on a USB drive or to a cloud drive like Dropbox or Google documents.
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