WITH winter fast approaching, people in East Dunbartonshire are being encouraged to get ready now.

Last year’s prolonged winter weather affected much of Scotland, catching many people out. But, by thinking about how our families, businesses and communities could be affected, we can be better prepared this year.

So, how prepared are you? Have you started making a household plan or packing a few essential items in your car? Even an average winter is likely to include cold snaps, snowfalls, ice, storms, high winds, heavy rain and fog. Taking action now will help make Scotland better prepared.

A new campaign from the Scottish Government with the Red Cross illustrates that it takes only a few simple steps to be ready for winter at home, on the road and in our communities if severe weather strikes.

Offering practical advice, it shows the simple steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, your community and your organisation from the worst effects of all kinds of weather.

Norman McKinley, director of the Red Cross in Scotland, said: “Winter can be tough on everyone - especially vulnerable people - but there’s a lot we can do to prepare ourselves for extreme weather.

“The Red Cross, working with the Scottish Government, wants to help people get ready for winter and show them how easy it is. As an emergency response organisation, our volunteers help people who need it all year round, but we are especially busy in winter. We are very familiar with the difficulties snow and ice can cause the whole community.”

In addition to having emergency items ready, identifying family members or neighbours who may need extra help if severe weather strikes is also vital. Having their phone numbers to hand and offering to help with grocery shopping or other essential tasks can help minimise the effects of winter weather where you live.

For more helpful tips and information on getting ready for winter,