Ireland’s gearing up for cold weather this week – and people are being asked to be vigilant at home and on the roads.
Snow and ice warnings are already in place and are expected to worsen as the week goes on.
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Everyone, especially older or more vulnerable people, should remember to take extra care.
Elderly people should not venture outdoors in severe weather if possible.
The public is asked to make a special effort to keep in contact with their neighbours and relatives, particularly those living alone.
Remember to keep warm, eat well and avoid unnecessary travel.
People are asked to call on elderly relatives and neighbours and make sure they have enough food or any prescription drugs they may need.
As well as sufficient fuel supplies to maintain adequate heating in their homes.
People are advised that clearing snow from footpaths can be demanding work, and to only undertake it if they are reasonably fit and do not have an underlying medical condition.
They are advised to wear sturdy, insulated, waterproof footwear with good gripping soles
A shovel should be used to do this. While there are special shovels for this, any garden shovel will do.
Make a path down the middle of the area being cleared so that you will have a clear surface to walk on.
Never use boiling water to clear snow – as it may re-freeze and cause the formation of black ice.
People can prevent ice forming by spreading salt on the area that they have cleared.
When clearing snow it is important not create an obstacle for pedestrians or traffic.
The Office of the Attorney General has advised that liability does not arise when snow is cleared from footpaths in a safe manner.
People should also have a small supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare foods and keep an extra supply of essential medication in case it is difficult to get to the pharmacy.
They should also have an adequate supply of fuel for heating/cooking and, if possible, a suitable alternative should the main supply fail.
Homes should also have batteries for torches in the event of power cuts.
People are being reminded to take care of animals during the coming week.
With snow and the very cold weather forecast, some simple things to remember are:
- Bring pets inside if you can
- If you cannot bring them inside make sure that they have extra bedding – rabbits with extra straw, dogs in kennels with extra blankets, etc
- Make sure they have access to fresh and unfrozen water
- Move horses closer to access points and put out extra feed
For those who must travel, they are being reminded that during severe weather conditions, public transport routes will be prioritised.
For those who must use a car, they should consider the following:
- Put a Hi-viz jacket, shovel, boots or wellingtons, extra clothing or a blanket and a flask in the boot of the car
- Check your tyres: pressure, tread depth (minimum 1.6mm) and condition
- Ensure all windows are clean and free from snow: bring a scraper and de-icer with you
- Check your lights and indicators as falling snow reduces visibility
- Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged
- It takes longer to stop a vehicle in snow or on icy roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front
- Keep a sharp lookout for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users
- Keep your windows clear of snow during your journey
- Manoeuvre gently – avoid harsh braking, acceleration or steering as these can cause a skid
- Use the highest gear possible to reduce the engine revs as this will help avoid wheel spin
‘School transport will operate unless red weather warning issued’ – Bus Eireann
‘Check with your airline before traveling. Our social media will be constantly updated’ – Dublin Airport Authority
‘Have your car winter ready. Check in with your neighbours’ – An Garda Síochána
— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) February 26, 2018
Employers are being advised to remain vigilant and to prepare for worsening weather.
ISME is advising employers to take time to put measures in place to reduce the potential business impact.
During Ophelia, widespread business closures occurred at short notice. While it is possible that business closures will not be necessary on this occasion, businesses should prepare for the possibility.
The group says a key consideration needs to be whether, in the circumstances, it is safe to ask employees to travel to work or to undertake their work.
The potential risk could be greater for certain roles or in certain sectors: e.g. on-the-road sales positions or in the construction sector where outside work is required.
They should also consider how a business decision will be made as to whether or not a closure is necessary.
Employers should ensure they have up-to-date contact information for all employees in case a last-minute decision needs to be communicated to staff.
They may want to put employees on notice that a clause could be invoked at short notice later on in the week.
Should the business be forced to close, they should consider the likely impact this will have on customers.
A plan should be put in place as to how this will be communicated.
Where a business closure does not occur, they should ensure employees are aware who they should contact in the event that they are unable to attend work due to the weather conditions.
Flexibility should be allowed for employees, especially those who have some distance to travel.
Where employees are present in the workplace, care should be taken to remain vigilant for any worsening conditions and cancelled or amended travel throughout the day.
Consideration should also be given to how long it will take somebody to commute home safely.
More information can be found on the ‘Be Winter Ready’ website
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