Winter finally came this year, and the snow has been plenty the last couple of weeks! We should all be thankful for the added moisture but being prepared to deal with it is also important for everyone’s health and safety. If you haven’t already, it is important to prepare your home and car for more winter weather coming to avoid damage or injuries.
In your home, having proper insulation in attics, walls, and around doors and windows will keep you comfortable, safe, and save money. Set thermostats to the same temperature day and night to avoid big fluctuations. Also beware of frozen pipes that can break and cause damage in your home. Know where shut-off valves are located and keep warm air circulating around pipes with open cabinets around plumbing.
It is also very important to maintain your home’s heat sources for better efficiency and safety. Heating equipment (furnaces, chimneys) should be checked annually, kept clear and well-vented to the outside. It is also recommended to install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home on the lower parts of your walls to provide early warning of carbon monoxide. If the alarm sounds, move quickly outside to a fresh air location and open windows/doors, and then call emergency personnel to assist. House fires also pose an additional risk with winter heat sources, so take precautions and keep fire extinguishers on hand where everyone can use them.
When you head out in your car for the winter, planning is key to be safe and ready to handle the conditions. During a winter storm it is important to only drive if necessary! If you must drive, try to travel during the day, in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and have someone else with you. It is also a good idea to make sure others are informed of your schedule and planned route. Stay on the main roads to your destination, so help can be sent easier if necessary.
Next be sure your vehicle is in top condition for the cold elements to avoid a breakdown on the side of a cold, snowy road. Keep a full tank of fuel and be sure to check various items on your car such as tires with good tread, good brakes, working lights, oil levels, windshield wipers, and your battery condition. It is also important to have an emergency kit in your car (see list). We wish you all a safe and healthy winter!
VEHICLE EMERGENCY KIT:
- Windshield scraper, small broom
- Extra hats, socks, mittens
- Extra batteries
- Water, Snack food
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt or sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares, distress flag