Wakefield Council is advising residents to take steps to stay safe and keep healthy during any spells of cold weather.
If severe weather hits the district, the council’s priority is to keep main roads moving and ensure that essential services are kept open. 6,000 tonnes of grit have been stockpiled by the council and the focus will be on priority routes, which are used by 90 per cent of traffic. A fleet of 14 state-of-the art gritters, bought last year and equipped with SAT NAV and an automatic spreading system, will help tackle the wintry conditions.
There are 340 grit bins across the district and these will be restocked over the winter, as needed. If people have to travel by car during these conditions, the advice is to plan ahead and keep up-to-date with the weather.
People are being urged to lend their support by signing up as volunteer snow wardens. The wardens will be given salt and other equipment for clearing snow and ice around their neighbourhood, and be expected to assist vulnerable people or neighbours.
Coun Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for transport and highways said: “We’re fully prepared to help keep the district moving during any possible adverse weather conditions. I’d ask that people get in touch now if they are interested in volunteering as a snow warden. If we wait until the weather gets bad then it’s too late to get you trained and provide you with the right equipment to keep the streets and public footpaths clear.”
Residents are being encouraged to check on their elderly and disabled neighbours and family members, who may need additional support during the cold weather.
The advice for everyone is to make sure their home is stocked with food and medicine with emergency contacts ready, should the need arise. Opening times for pharmacies, GP practices and shops should also be checked.
To better protect yourself it is advised that you get the flu vaccination, particularly if you are over 65 years of age, pregnant or a child aged two, three or four. People, under the age of 65, with certain medical conditions or a chronic disease should also consider getting vaccinated.
Coun Pat Garbutt, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for adult and health, said: “As it gets colder our chances of getting ill increases. It’s really important you take steps like getting the flu vaccine and staying warm.
“We also need to check on vulnerable residents and neighbours who may need extra support, especially if the weather means they cannot safely go outside to collect food or medicine.”
Anybody concerned about someone’s safety should contact Social Care Direct on 0345 8 503 503.
For more tips and to sign up to become a snow warden call 0345 8 506 506 or go to www.wakefield.gov.uk/winter
For gritting updates follow #Wakeywinter on Twitter.