Don’t let winter spoil your Christmas

British Red Cross urges East Devon residents to sign up to its Ready for Winter campaign - and stay safe.

Arm yourself with essentials - if you don’t want winter to spoil your Christmas.

That is the message the British Red Cross is sending East Devon residents.

The charity says it has statistics that show severe winter weather spoiled Christmas for up to 40 per cent of those living in the South West last year.

Its volunteers are on standby to help emergency services if similar weather develops this year.

Meanwhile, research shows only one in five people nationally have undertaken any preparation in case they are caught out in dangerous conditions on the road.

Fewer than two in five have taken steps to prepare themselves in the home for severe weather this year.

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“The statistics are a real concern given that as many as 25,000 people die because of winter weather every year,” says the charity as it launches its Ready for Winter campaign.

Sarah Gibson, Red Cross operations director for Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and the Channel Islands, told the Midweek Herald: “Last Christmas many were caught on the hop by the extreme winter weather.

“None of us can predict what conditions will be like this year.

“But what we can all do is take a set of small, practical steps to ensure that we are prepared.”

Residents are being urged to arm themselves with an essential kit bag, should they find themselves stranded at home or on the road.

Vital items include:

� A list of emergency contact numbers

� Battery operated torch and spare batteries (or a wind-up torch)

� Any essential medication, some toiletries and a first aid kit

� Three days’ supply of bottled water and ready-to-eat foods that keep

� Copies of important documents like insurance policies

� Pencil, paper, a penknife and a whistle

While some may associate the British Red Cross with relief in the developing world, a vital part of its role is to support the emergency services in the UK and this winter Red Cross volunteers will be on standby, with a fleet of vehicles loaned by Land Rover, to help.

For more information about the campaign visit