Issued by the Highlands and Islands Strategic Co-ordinating Group
Emergency Services in the Highlands and Islands are calling on neighbours to look out for each other during the severe weather we are currently experiencing.
Inspector Steve Mardon of Northern Constabulary said: "The severe weather conditions have begun early this winter. Travel conditions remain difficult and we have been experiencing exceptionally low temperatures.
"Together with other Emergency Services and the local authorities, we are urging people to check on their neighbours, particularly older people and those with any mobility problems, or anyone they know who may be stranded in their houses during the severe weather."
Nigel Stafford, British Red Cross said: "Winter has come early again this year and there are many people in the community who are unable to get out to the shops or the doctor. We would encourage people to keep an eye on their neighbours, particularly the elderly or infirm. Some people may have been unable to get out for some days now due to the snow and icy conditions. We all need to look out for each other during the severe weather and make sure those less able than ourselves are not forgotten about, especially in such freezing weather."
Councillor Alasdair Christie, Vice-Chairman of The Highland Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee, added: “The extra work and effort by all our home carers at this time is admirable. This spirit of dedication is shared by staff all over the Highlands. I would like to thank everyone for all their hard work and commitment.
I would also urge friends, families and neighbours to watch out for elderly and vulnerable members of the community, to help them where necessary and not to assume that someone else will look out for them.”
Householders are also encouraged to try and keep the roadways clear of cars to allow access to gritters and emergency services.
Councillor John Laing Chairman of The Highland Council's Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee, said: "I would ask that people would attempt to clear their driveways and get their cars off the road where possible so that gritters and other services can get full access to roads. It is also important that people arrange for the clearance of abandoned cars as soon as possible."
Police would also remind people to use the emergency services properly and not to telephone police or other emergency services when it is inappropriate to do so.
Inspector Steve Mardon added: "We publish regular updates on our website www.northern.police.uk and provide regular road reports to local radio stations for the latest information on roads. I would ask people not to call police, fire or 999 for road information or other weather related advice, unless it is a real emergency. Thank you for helping us to ensure that emergency services lines are free for those who really need our help."
Inspector Mardon also reminded drivers to take be prepared when travelling. "Drivers should take heed of weather forecasts and road conditions and allow plenty of time for their journey. Be prepared for the worst by taking blankets, extra clothing, a shovel, food and drinks, and making sure your mobile phone is fully charged and you have useful contact numbers."
Anyone looking for further roads/weather information is asked to use:-
1. Traffic Scotland Helpline:- 0800 028 1414
2.Traffic Scotland Website:- www.trafficscotland.org
3. Local radio broadcasts (which are updated regularly by Police)
4. Northern Constabulary Website Severe Weather section http://www.northern.police.uk/
5. Local authority websites for school closures