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Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service Advises Residents To Take Care As Temperatures Drop

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is reminding people to take care as temperatures are set to drop across Berkshire this week (8 January).

Following cold weather and health warnings issued by the Met Office for the week ahead, Berkshire residents are being warned to be extra vigilant when it comes to staying warm and travelling during the cold spell. If it’s 0°C or lower then expect ice on the roads.

Road Safety

  • Check local TV, radio and internet for weather and traffic reports before travelling. The Met Office will provide regular updates.
  • Allow more time for braking in snow and icy conditions – Stopping distances can be up to 10 times longer when driving on ice.
  • Ensure both windscreens and all windows are thoroughly defrosted and ice free before driving.

Ice and Snow Safety

  • Never walk or jump onto frozen water. Even if it appears thick from the bank, it could be thin and break easily. You also do not know how deep the water is below.
  • Dog owners should ensure they keep their pets on a lead, and avoid throwing toys or sticks on the ice, so they are not at risk of falling in. If your dog does fall in, do not go onto ice or into the water to rescue them. Instead, move to a place the dog will be able to climb out and call them toward you.
  • Time your walks to make the most of the daylight; if you need to walk in the evening only use well-lit areas or take a route that avoids water.
  • Don’t wander too near the edge of the riverbank. The water levels are high due to recent rainfall and icy or wet conditions could cause you to slip and fall in.

Freezing Pipes

  • Know where the internal stop/tap valve is (usually under the kitchen sink) and how to turn it off.
  • Keep your home as warm as possible even if you are out.
  • Lag pipes in exposed or draughty places.
  • Leave the trap door to the roof space open to let warm air flow in during extreme weather conditions when there is the chance that un-lagged water tanks and pipes could freeze.
  • See that taps are turned off properly.
  • Have contact details for a plumber.


  • If you are driving, please do not attempt to drive through flood water. Just 30cm of moving flood water is enough to make your car float and potentially move you into deeper water where you could become stranded.  
  • Do not turn on gas or electrics if they have got wet – only turn them on when they have been checked by a qualified technician. 
  • Do not move or ignore road closures signs – they are there for your safety, so please do not ignore them.

During this time of adverse weather, please be mindful of those in your community that may not be coping, check in on elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours and be on the look-out for signs that something might be wrong. 

For more advice on what to do during flooding, visit:  

If available for your neighbourhood, sign up for free flood warning messages or call the Environment Agency’s Floodline: 0345 988 1188. 

During this time, if you must travel, be sure to check the latest traffic information prior to leaving: