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Public Health message regarding Cold Weather Alert Level 3

Any queries should be directed to the Public Health team, their contact details can be found at the bottom of this article.

This current cold weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable residents and disrupt the delivery of services.

Advice for the public on financial support and benefits can be found on the Government website and our West Berkshire Council website page:

  • Heating homes to at least 18°C (65F) in winter poses minimal risk to the health of a sedentary person, wearing suitable clothing.
  • The 18°C (65F) threshold is particularly important for people 65 years and over or with pre-existing medical conditions; having temperatures slightly above this threshold may be beneficial for health
  • maintaining the 18°C (65F) threshold overnight may be beneficial to protect the health of those 65 years and over or with pre-existing medical conditions; they should continue to use sufficient bedding, clothing and thermal blankets, or heating aids as appropriate
  • There is an existing recommendation to reduce sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Advice is that rooms in which infants sleep should be heated to between 16 to 20°C (61 to 68F)

Winter Vaccination Information

Vaccines are the best defence we have against COVID-19 and other respiratory infections such as flu. They provide good protection against hospitalisation and death. They also reduce the risk of long-term symptoms. The government is offering help for households, see what cost of living support you could be eligible for.

Eligible groups for the FREE flu jab can be found here and eligible groups for the COVID-19 booster can be found here.

If you have any questions/queries please feel free to contact:


Ice Safety

Many aren’t aware of the dangers of frozen water; it may look solid from the surface but will not hold your weight and could crack when stood on meaning that you become trapped under the ice. The Royal Life Saving Society UK has devised these safety tips about the dangers of frozen waters.

When water is frozen and the cold weather sets in these are a few safety tips to take note of:

  1. Teach children not to go on to frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs under any circumstances. Children and pets are particularly at risk when tempted to play on the ice formed on open water during cold weather.
  2. Pets should be kept on leads when near frozen water and owners should refrain from throwing objects onto ice for them to retrieve.
  3. Bystanders should shout reassurance to casualties without endangering themselves. Make sure help is on the way by phoning the emergency services (call 999 or 112).
  4. Do not walk or climb onto the ice to attempt a rescue and certainly don’t get into the water, you may become the next casualty.
  5. If someone can’t climb out of the water, it is not advisable, as many people think, to move about in the water to keep warm while waiting for help. Instead they should conserve their energy by keeping as still as possible.

If you see someone fall through the ice:

  1. Shout for assistance; get help also by phoning the emergency services (call 999 or 112).
  2. Do not walk or climb onto the ice to attempt a rescue.
  3. Shout to the casualty to ‘keep still’ and offer reassurance to keep them calm.
  4. Try and reach them from the bank using a rope, pole, tree branch, clothing tied together or anything else which can extend your reach.
  5. When reaching from the bank, lie down to avoid being pulled onto the ice – this spreads your weight more evenly.
  6. If you cannot reach them, slide something which floats, such as a plastic bottle or football, across the ice for them to hold onto to stay afloat whilst help is on the way.
  7. If the casualty is too far away, do not attempt to rescue them. Wait for the emergency services while calming and reassuring the casualty.