Not a cold alarm as in coughs, cold and flu, but as in ‘it’s freezing in here!’
The cold weather is upon us in the UK, and there are some dire warnings of an estimated 2,500 people who are likely to die from cold in England and Wales in the week prior to Christmas. We are not very good at dealing with extremes of weather. In fact, a larger proportion of British people dies because of cold weather, than either Finland or Russia.
A cold alarm costs around £15 and could help save the lives of vulnerable people, especially elderly people, who are most at risk.
Martin Clayton from GTi points out that a Cold Alarm is just as useful as a smoke detector to residents. He said:
“They are very simple to install and have a ten year sealed battery unit. There is a traffic light set of signals to show the dwelling’s heat status.”
Traffic Light Warning System
The ‘traffic light’ system warns the homeowner or tenant when the temperature is falling, and as it reaches lower levels, which could harm their health, it also emits an audible warning.
– Above 18C it flashes green, every ten seconds.
– Between 12C and 18C it flashes amber to warn the occupant to turn up the heating
– Between 7C and 12C it flashes red to show thaturgent action is required to increase the temperature.
– Below 7C it will continue to flash red, but also sound a beep indicating a serious risk of hypothermia.
Cold Weather Facts
- An estimated 40,000 more people die between December and March in the UK, than at other times of the year
- A household is classed as ‘fuel poor’ if they have to spend 10% of their income on heating to satisfactory levels.
- Fuel poverty is estimated to affect approximately 5 million households.
- 80% of fuel poor households have occupants who are from vulnerable groups such as the elderly, very young and disabled.
- 57% of fuel poor householders are over 60 years old.
- More British people die because of cold weather, than either Finnish or Russian people, despite their colder average temperatures.
More than half winter deaths in the UK are due to heart attacks, strokes and circulatory problems.
It is estimated there are an average 8,000 extra deaths for every one degree Celsius the temperature falls below average in winter.
- As many as 50,000 people could die unnecessarily, through cold, this coming winter.
What Can Be Done
Look out for elderly friends, relatives and neighbours, particularly if the weather is unseasonably cold.
If you are in a fuel poor household, check with your energy supplier if there is any financial help they can provide.
Get proper insulation for your home, there are grants and schemes available for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. See more about insulation on our Projects Section, and for advice on the Government Schemes to help homeowners carry out insulation work go to our sister site Be Energy Smart.
Check the weather forecasts to make sure you do not run out of food, medicine or fuel. Running out of coal, LPG or wood is bad news if it gets cold, but if you have an oil-fired system allowing your oil tank to run dry can also damage the system, so make sure you stock up on the fuel you need. See more about Oil Fired Boilers in our Project area.