Having to turn the clocks back one hour is the surest sign yet that winter is just around the corner.
But amazingly, research shows that only 40 per cent of households are prepared for what the most testing of seasons might throw at us this year.
Findings from the survey completed with the support of The British Red Cross shows four out of 10 people are most concerned about power cuts, losing their water supply and fuel deliveries being disrupted – while nearly eight out of 10 motorists think all they need to drive in freezing conditions is an ice-scraper and can of de-icer!
The Scottish Government has launched a major campaign in a bid to raise everybody’s awareness of the problems we will likely face between now and the spring.
The ‘Ready for Winter’ initiative is designed to educate us all on how to be best prepared to cope with the hazards of snow, ice, flooding, high winds and plunging temperatures.
It aims to remind individuals and families of the risks and consequences of being underprepared for bad weather and provides advice and information on how to be ready for any and all eventualities.
Minister for Transport Keith Brown stressed: “By doing a few small things now we can save a lot of trouble later.
‘‘Being prepared for winter and severe weather is something we all need to take responsibility for.
‘‘We all know our weather can change quickly and one of the key parts of the campaign this year is to encourage everyone to start thinking now about how it could impact on them, at home, at work and before setting out on a journey and on their neighbours and community.
“Our research shows there is still work to be done getting the message out about the need to be ready.
‘‘By thinking ahead we can can help the country be better prepared to deal with the consequences of severe weather and the simple steps we can all take to achieve this.”
Red Cross operations manager David Miller warned: “Last winter was the mildest in years but many people across Scotland still suffered hardship and inconvenience as a result of high winds and flooding which caused temporary loss of utilities.
‘‘We can’t legislate for what winter might bring, but can make life easier for ourselves by taking a few simple steps to prepare for it.”
A series of television ads will run until the middle of the month to get the message across while the Ready Scotland website has a list of essential items to make up an ‘emergency kit’ for the home or car and stressing the importance of keeping in touch with vulnerable members of family, neighbours and friends.
Anyone not online can receive the advice and information they need by catching the ‘Ready for Winter’ roadshow when it arrives at Asda in Stenhousemuir on November 10 or Asda in Falkirk on November 13.
For more information, log on to www.readyscotland.co.uk.