Christmas is bound to look different this year and it is important to stay safe and keep others safe during the festive season. It is important to:
- Follow the government guidelines and local restriction tier system
- Make sure your house is safe and follow fire safety tips and carry out your own safety checks
- Take great care when driving
- Stay safe while drinking
- Stay connected with friends and family
Between 23rd and 27th December:
Following the latest government announcement of changing some social contact restrictions between 23rd and 27th December, we can now form an exclusive “Christmas bubble” composed of people from no more than three households. When following these new rules, we must each take responsibility to limit the spread of the virus (Covid-19) and protect yourself and others, particularly if they are vulnerable. Carefully consider the potential risks and explore other options, such as meeting outdoors or using technology to stay in touch without bringing households together or travelling between different parts of the country. You must follow the self-isolation guidelines if experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or been tested positive.
- you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households, keeping in mind that you can only be in one Christmas bubble
- you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
- you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
- Everybody in a Christmas bubble is responsible for taking clear steps to prevent catching and spreading the virus. When meeting your Christmas bubble to help reduce the spread on coronavirus (Covid-19) you should wash your hands frequently, clean touchpoints regularly, avoid sharing plates, utensils, glasses etc. and make sure you let as much air in as you can during a visit and after visitors have left by opening windows and doors (where possible and without getting cold).
(More information can be found on GOV.UK website)
Keeping your home safe. Festive period fire safety tips:
- Check your Christmas tree lights carry the British Standard sign and are not damaged
- Never place candles near materials that can catch fire easily. Keep candles, lighters and matches out of children’s reach. Never leave burning candles unattended.
- If choosing a real Christmas tree, make sure you water it regularly
- If choosing an artificial tree, choose one that is labelled flame resistant
- Test your smoke alarms monthly and remove batteries only when replacing them
- Avoid leaving a cooker unattended or cooking under influence of alcohol
- Don’t overload electrical sockets!
- Switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before you go to bed
- Make sure your family and visitors know how to escape in an emergency
- Take care around open fireplaces
- Check in on your older relatives and neighbours as they are at the greater risk from fire
Driving advice for winter months:
- Allow extra time for your journeys and carry out all essential vehicle checks
(fuel level, screen wash, tyres etc.)
- Take it slow as the stopping distances on icy surfaces can make the stopping distance
10 times longer, remember gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving in icy and snowy conditions
- Make sure your windscreen and windows are clean to improve the visibility. Clear snow from the roof as it can fall onto the windscreen and block drivers view. Replace worn or damaged wiper blades.
- Keep screen wash topped up and use a proper anti-freeze at the right concentration to prevent ice forming
- You must not drive if under the influence of alcohol and always read the label before you take any medication
in case it inhibits your ability to drive and affects making decisions
- With the decreasing daylight during winter months make sure all vehicle lights are working and lenses kept clean of dirt before every journey
If you drink 1 pint of beer, your body takes about 2 hours to break it down, 1 pint of strong lager is equivalent to 3 units,
so this will take longer. However, this time can vary, depending on the each individual person. Please drink responsibly!
- Remember that drink driving kills! Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to drive so the only
safe advice is to avoid any alcohol if you are driving.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. A healthy meal before you go out or start drinking, and snacks between
drinks can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol, helping you stay in control
- The more you drink, the more likely you are to have an accident! Alcohol affects your body’s
responses slowing down your brain which means you are more likely to have an accident.
- Drinking games might be more risky than you think. Don’t be fooled into thinking they are harmless fun,
drinking games can lead to risky behaviour and alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal, and can have consequences
for your long-term health too.
- Alcohol poisoning. Your body can only process one unit of alcohol an hour. Drink a lot in a short space of time
and the amount of alcohol in the blood can stop the body from working properly. Look out for symptoms like:
confusion, loss of coordination, blue-tinged or pale skin, low body temperature or unconsciousness. If you think
someone might be experiencing it, even if you have doubts, call 999 for an ambulance.
- Be extra careful in cold weather conditions! Alcohol can make you think that you’re warm. But the balmy glow
and red cheeks that come with a drink are deceptive. When you drink, it dilates the peripheral blood vessels near
your skin, which means more blood – and heat – flows to these vessels. That takes blood and heat away from the
core of your body. So while it feels like you’re warm because your skin is warm, your vital organs aren’t as warm
as you might think they are.
Staying connected & Support others during the festive period:
Whilst some of us are looking forward to the festive period, many people can find it difficult and overwhelming for lots of
different reasons. Please see tips below on supporting others at Christmas by Mind (please see the link below for more
- Understand that Christmas means something different to other people, and may bring up very different feelings
- Let them know you understand Christmas can be difficult, and you’re there for them
- Tell them they’re not alone. They might not know it’s common to find things hard at this time of year
- Listen to what they say, and accept their feelings
- Ask if there are things you can start, stop or continue doing
- Ask them if there are particular things about Christmas that are difficult for them, and ask what they think might
- Remember they aren’t trying to spoil Christmas. No one chooses to find things hard.
- Look after yourself. Supporting someone else can be difficult. For example, you might feel sad or conflicted. It’s
ok to confide in someone about how this is affecting you.
With the restrictions in place this Christmas it will not be possible to see everyone, but it doesn’t mean we cannot check in
with them. Think about ways to stay in touch with friends and family during the holidays by phone, messaging, video calls
or social media. Make an effort in keeping in touch with people you know who are on their own and who might be
struggling or who might be shielding, and remember even a quick call can brighten someone’s day.
GOV.Uk- Making a Christmas bubble with friends and family- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family
GOV.UK- Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-tips-for-christmas
Hampshire Fire and Rescue- Keeping safe at Christmas- https://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/keeping-safe/stay-well-this-winter/christmas/
Drink aware – Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units App- https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/tools/track-and-calculate-units-app
NHS- Feeling Lonely. Things you can try to help with loneliness. Where to get NHS help for stress, anxiety or depression. – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/feeling-lonely/
Mind- Christmas and metal health- https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/christmas-and-mental-health/being-supportive-to-others/