|Image: Lancashire County Council|
With temperatures expected to plummet tonight, Lancashire County Council is ready for the winter weather and is urging residents to prepare for the cold.
Lancashire's fleet of 49 gritters will be out tonight for the first time this winter. They will treat the roads whenever a freeze is expected.
Highly trained crews will be using the latest technology and have more than 30,000 tonnes of salt ready to keep Lancashire moving this winter.
County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We're fully prepared for the winter weather and will once again be doing everything we can to keep Lancashire's roads moving.
"We look after 4,300 miles of road, a third of which are priority routes and are gritted first whenever a freeze is forecast.
"We also grit other secondary routes in snowy conditions. However, it's impossible to grit every road.
"Just because a road has been gritted, it may not be clear of ice and people should take extra care and prepare ahead for their journeys in freezing weather."
The county council is also responsible for public health and is encouraging people to take steps to keep warm and healthy this winter.
A number of people died last year in Lancashire because of winter-related illnesses and there were thousands of emergency hospital admissions.
People are being urged to stock up on salt to keep paths around their homes clear, get free flu jabs if they are eligible, get support if they are struggling to keep their home warm, and make the right choice of who to speak to if they become ill.
County Council Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "We're expecting the weather to get much colder from this week. We want people to look out for their neighbours, particularly those who are elderly and disabled.
"It only takes a few minutes to call round to make sure someone is okay and has everything they need, including food and medicine, to stay well.
"There are also other measures you can take to help keep you and your family fit and well this winter.
"We'll continue to work with our colleagues in the NHS and other organisations to help people stay healthy."
• For gritting updates, advice on preparing for winter, school closures and more, visit: www.lancashire.gov.uk/winter or www.twitter.com/lancashirecc
Here are five steps to help you, your families and neighbours stay healthy this winter:
Look out for your neighbour
Call in on elderly or disabled neighbours to ensure they are well and have food, medicine and everything they need.
Keep paths and driveways around your home free from ice
It is a good idea to stock up on salt and have a snow shovel handy to keep pathways around your home clear. Salt in grit bins must only be used on roads and pavements.
Everyone in an 'at risk' group should get a free flu jab – this could mean you, as well as the people you look after. Check with your doctor if you need more information.
Keeping your home warm
Visit Lancashire County Council's website for advice on keeping your home warm, particularly if you feel you are struggling and need help with insulating and heating measures.
Choose well if you are ill
There are a range of places you can go for NHS treatment and making the right choice will ensure you get the right care as quickly as possible.
During the winter, A&E departments are under a lot of pressure. A&E and 999 calls should only be used for life-threatening and emergency conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes and serious injuries.
The following guidelines should help:
• Self-care - For minor illnesses and injuries, look after yourself at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet.
• Pharmacists - If you are suffering from a common winter health problem that doesn’t require a doctor, visit your local pharmacy for expert advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them.
• Doctors (GPs) - If you have an illness or injury that will not go away, make an appointment with your doctor.
• Walk in centres - Visit your local walk-in centre for minor injuries and illnesses. They are open to anyone and you don’t need an appointment.