Staying warm and healthy during the winter can be a challenge. Your health and safety is important to us, so here are some tips to keep in mind during the chilly months ahead.
During the winter we worry about the obvious dangers of snowy and icy roads, winter storms, and power failures. Keep in mind that cold weather associated dangers can also exist inside your home.
Many people use indoor fireplaces and space heaters to stay warm. These types of appliances increase the risks of household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Never leave your fireplace or space heater unattended. Every evening before heading to bed, ensure all space heaters have been unplugged and all fireplaces have been emptied of ashes and embers. Collect fireplace ashes in a metal bucket, carry them outdoors, away from the house and garage, then fully extinguish them with snow or water.
If your electricity fails and you own a power generator, never use it indoors. Generators create carbon monoxide gas which can be fatal. Keeping generators outside, away from your home prevents potentially deadly fumes and carbon monoxide from collecting in living spaces.
Prepare your home for the winter by:
- Installing weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows
- Cleaning out gutters and repairing roof leaks
- Checking your heating system to make sure it is clean and working properly
- Have fireplaces and chimneys inspected and cleaned if needed
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – remember to test batteries regularly.
- Keep sand or cat litter on hand for use on icy patches on driveways or walkways
Stock your home before a storm with:
- Non-perishable foods that do not require cooking or refrigeration
- Drinking water
- Prescription drugs
- A first aid kit
- A radio
- Extra batteries
If you must travel during inclement weather:
- Wear warm appropriate clothing such as gloves, extra socks, a hat, earmuffs, a scarf, and thermal layers
- Carry a cell phone
- Make sure someone is aware of your expected arrival time and travel route
Prepare your car for winter:
- Keep your gas tank full
- Put a windshield scraper and snow brush in your backseat
- Carry emergency flares
- Winterize your car and maintain the antifreeze level
- Check tire treads, maintain proper tire inflation, and consider using snow tires
- Keep blankets and extra clothes in your trunk
- Have a small shovel and a bag of sand or cat litter in your car in case the car becomes stuck
- Purchase or assemble an emergency kit to keep in your car in case you get stranded. Emergency kits should contain:
- First aid supplies
- A flashlight
- Food & water
- A flat tire repair product
If you get stranded:
- Call for help
- Stay with your car
- Keep moving- don’t stop moving your arms and legs
- Stay visible and stay dry
- Keep a downwind window open for ventilation
- Make sure the car’s tailpipe is not blocked with snow
Lastly, during severe weather, check in on family members and neighbors; especially those with young children and those who are elderly or ill. If you or someone you know needs emergency services, call 9-1-1.