Edinburgh weather: Emergency text plan for parents

Gritting lorries have been fully serviced so they are prepared to deal with the snow when it comes. Picture: Scott Louden

Gritting lorries have been fully serviced so they are prepared to deal with the snow when it comes. Picture: Scott Louden

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EMERGENCY text messages will be sent to parents this winter warning them of school closures if the weather bites.

Trained staff will have access to mobile phone numbers on a schools database, allowing them to send out updates if problems arise.

All parents who have provided their contact details will receive advanced warnings if schools are shutting down amid a big freeze.

The plans are part of a raft of measures announced as the city council revealed its preparations for winter.

Salt has been stockpiled, gritting lorries serviced and “tried and tested plans” reviewed and refreshed to help the Capital deal with whatever the weather has in store.

Staff have been on stand-by to treat roads and pavements since late last month, while salt bins throughout Edinburgh are being regularly checked and topped-up where necessary.

The city council’s deputy transport and environment leader said the plans proved the council was ready for winter.

Councillor Adam McVey said: “We’ve had a few mild winters in recent years, but we are never complacent – the harsh winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 are still fresh in everyone’s memory.

“It’s impossible to know at this stage what the weather has in store for us this year, but we’ve been busy making sure we’re as prepared as we can be to keep the city moving, whatever the elements throw our way. Our staff are all trained up, our equipment is ready for use and our salt stocks are topped up, with more available should it be needed.

“As ever, we’d encourage residents to ensure they find out everything they need to know about keeping themselves safe during the winter months.”

As part of the preparations, a Ready for Winter communications campaign, which launched today, will see information leaflets and posters distributed to neighbourhood offices, libraries and doctor and dental surgeries.

It will tell residents everything they need to know about preparing for the next few months as well as providing vital contact numbers should they need to access help and services.

A total of 16,000 tonnes of salt have been stockpiled, and levels will be monitored throughout the winter and topped up when needed.

Local farmers, who have worked with the council for the past three years, will grit rural roads again this year.

But contracts are also in place should extra staff and equipment be needed.

The council website will also provide live information, featuring an interactive map so that residents can pinpoint their nearest salt bin. If severe weather strikes, the council will use social media, its website and local news organisations to keep residents updated.

Public skips will also be put in place in case extreme weather prevents bin collection.

Experts at the Met Office last week denied reports that Britain was set to face its coldest winter in 100 years.

And on Friday, the record for the warmest Hallowe’en in Britain was shattered with the mercury reaching 23.6C – hotter than Barcelona, Rome and San Francisco.