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Cold waves

Safety tips

Keep updated about the weather forecast and follow the instructions you are given by the authorities. If you have to travel, check out road conditions and routes:

Servei Meteorològic de Catalunya (SMC)

Servei Català de Trànsit

Portal de la mobilitat

012 Atenció Ciutadana

Look after your relatives or neighbours more vulnerable, especially elderly people and ensure that they protect themselves from the cold.

In case of emergency follow the information and instructions of the authorities. Stay tuned through social media (radio, TV, webs, twitter, etc.)

Remember, if you need help during the emergency call 112.


At home

Gather a radio, spare batteries, flashlights, calorie-rich foods, fuel and a first aid kit.

Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked especially for old people and for those with chronic and respiratory diseases.

In case of a cold wave warning, if you happen to live in an isolated area or outside an urban area, run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing and protect with a cloth the water shut-off valve. Have a minimum storage of water in case water supply is cut off.

Do not use candles. If you have no choice, put them in a safe, fire resistant holder or container to avoid them to fall down. Remember to blow them up before leaving the room and keep them out of reach from children.

If you have automatic irrigation system, turn it off and avoid all activities which imply soaking the streets like watering or washing the floor.

Be careful with heating devices:

Boilers and heating devices used in central heating can become an element of risk if they are not in a good condition or if not properly used. In order to prevent a bad combustion it is important to follow these safety tips: 

  • When using heaters, open fire stoves or any other heating appliance, it is important to ventilate the room every day for a while in order to avoid poisoning and ensure fresh air entrance.
  • Make sure your heating devices, boilers, stoves etc. are in good condition.
  • If some of your appliances do not work properly or you feel there is a strange smell do not use it.
  • Keep children away from stoves, braziers, fireplaces. Keep lighters out of their reach.
  • Keep heaters, braziers and fireplaces at a safe distance from curtains, furniture and especially beds and mattresses. Do not use heaters to dry clothing or other items for it can start a household fire. Do not cover them with any object.

For more information visit Safety tips to avoid intoxications with stoves, heaters, boilers and chimneys.

In case of an emergency:

If you are in a room with a wood-burning stove, coal-burning stove, gas stove brazier or boiler and feel a sort of dizziness or experience nausea, ventilate immediately the room by opening doors and windows.

Call 112 if you feel sick, if you fear you can be intoxicated due to bad combustion or if you find someone lying unconscious when you get home.

Foto: finestra amb aigua glaçada

Outdoor safety

Avoid sudden changes of temperature.

In case of a cold wave, babies, elderly and those with respiratory diseases should remain preferably inside. If they still do need to go out, they should try to avoid open spaces more exposed to the cold and keep moving.

Use clothes and footwear suitable for low temperatures. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm longer.

Cover your face and head. Keep gloves and a scarf at hand. Avoid direct cold air going inside your lungs.

Avoid alcoholic beverages: alcohol can make you think that you’re warm.

Readjust your professional, sportive or recreational activities to the cold outside. Avoid exertion for it can lead to a health problem.

When driving

Travel only if necessary and avoid driving at night. Monitor road and weather conditions by checking local news stations, internet traffic and weather sites; follow instructions of Traffic Service authorities.

Keep your gas tank full and make sure you have tire chains and you know how to fit them.

Check your car tires, antifreeze, battery condition, lights and brakes.

Always carry additional warm clothing appropriate for the winter conditions, mobile phone, and mobile charger, water and calorie rich foods.

If you live or are heading to the mountains, use winter tires.

Inside your car, if you have the heater on, open one window slightly to let in air.

When driving be alert for icy patches which can make your car slip. Icy patches are more likely to form in shaded areas.

Foto: cotxe amb neu

Informative materials for local governments

Radio ad on safety tips in case of cold snap.

If you cannot open the audio document, download VCL Media Player (free download).


Update:  26.10.2018