The annual ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign has been launched by the National Emergency Co-ordination Committee.

It offers practical advice and information on preparing for severe weather conditions over the coming months and where to get assistance.

"You, Your Community and the Winter" is the focus of this year’s initiative, with people being urged to keep an eye on vulnerable neighbours.

It covers a number of areas including preparing homes, dealing with flooding, clearing snow from footpaths, keeping healthy and warm as well as driving tips in snow and icy conditions. 

The NECC is warning people that during extreme weather events, everyday tasks can become more difficult and hazardous.

Almost €1.2m was paid out last winter under the Exceptional Needs Payments scheme to help people affected by extreme weather conditions and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said it will provide further funding this year, if it is required.

In the Dublin region, an additional 200 beds will be made available over the winter months to help homeless people and rough sleepers, bringing the total number in the capital to 700.

And as part of the efforts to keep the road network open over the winter, Transport Infrastructure Ireland has increased the supply of salt to grit roads from 210,000 tonnes last year to 258,000 tonnes this year.

Information leaflets and booklets can be obtained in libraries and local authority offices as well as on the  www.winterready.ie website.