As the temperatures start to dip, it’s a good idea to check whether you are properly prepared for winter. Getting ready for the cold weather means you are more likely to keep warm and well this winter.

Here’s a list of things you can do to help ward off the winter chills:


  • Have your heating system serviced and chimney swept
  • If you have wood-burning, coal or gas heaters, make sure you have adequate ventilation
  • Check your water stopcock is working properly
  • Have your electric blanket serviced – this should be done at least every three years
  • Make sure your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm are working.


  • Be sure you have some warm shoes or boots with non-slip soles
  • Keep a mixture of salt and sand handy to put on steps or paths in icy weather
  • Keep simple cold, flu and sore throat remedies in the house. Your pharmacist can make suggestions and can also advise on how to manage minor illnesses
  • Follow up your GP’s invitation to have a flu jab
  • Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time, particularly if bad weather is forecast
  • Keep basic food items in the cupboard or freezer in case it’s too cold to go shopping
  • If you smoke, think about trying to stop.


  • Make sure you claim all the financial support to which you are entitled. Contact the Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service for a benefits check on freephone 0808 808 7575 or visit
  • If you have not been eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment before, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline on 0800 731 0160 for more information
  • Remember that you can also receive a Cold Weather Payment of £25 if the temperature in your area has been, or is expected to be 0 degrees or below for seven days in a row between November and March. To find out more, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.


To find out more and to download the guide, visit our Spread the warmth page