Tidy up the garden
Try not to leave chairs, tables, children’s toys, barbeques, and trampolines out in the garden over winter. They’ll be much better off inside–even if they’re kept in a shed or garage. Strong winds and bad weather could also take their toll on your walls and fences, so it’s sensible to check they’re secure. That way if they’re in need of repair you can get this done before the storm hits, giving them a better chance of surviving the weather.
Take care of trees
Cut back any loose or overhanging branches from trees (you should check these belong to you first, and also with your Local Authority, in case the trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order). You can also report any dangerous looking branches or fallen trees to your County Council who should be able to help with clearing them up. If weather warnings indicate a storm is coming, try and park your car in a garage or away from tall trees if possible.
Check your roof and gutters
After autumn, gutters and drains are likely to be clogged up with leaves and debris–so it’s a good idea to clear them before winter. You might want to check that the gutter junctions are watertight too. Be very careful when climbing any ladders and seek professional help if you need to.
Make sure you have essential items
While no one wants to be ‘that person’ panic buying milk and bread, it’s sensible to keep your home stocked with some essentials in case you get stuck indoors. If you’re on repeat prescription medication it’s important to check you have enough to last–deliveries can be affected by bad weather.
Prepare for a power cut
Make sure you have decent working torches and a supply of batteries. Don’t rely on your mobile phone torch as it can drain the battery, and you won’t be able to charge it. Try not to open your fridge or freezer, as it will lose its cold temperature–and turn off any appliances such as irons that could cause a hazard if the power comes on when you’re not there. You should also contact your electricity Distribution Network Operator (DNO) by calling 105 to report the power cut. Some DNOs operate a text update service to let you know when you can expect to regain power.
Keep pets inside where possible
Dogs and cats can get scared by stormy weather, and could even get caught up in strong winds and become injured. Try and keep your animals inside as far as possible–consider using a litter tray for your cat, and accompany your dog when they need to go outside. If you have any pets that live outdoors such as rabbits or guinea pigs, move their hutches into a shed or garage. You might even want to consider bringing them indoors for the winter months. If you do bring them indoors, it’s important not to move them back outside again until the temperature stays above 15 degrees day and night, as a sudden change in temperature could make them very unwell.