Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tips for Staying Safe This Winter

Winter should be winding down.  It’s February, after all.  Yet, it seems the snow and frigid cold temps just won’t go away.  Here are some tips for staying safe this winter.
  1. Your House – Your home is your protection from the winter, whether it’s from the snow or cold.  Proper maintenance will help ensure against disasters.  Keep gutters clear of debris.  Install de-icer cables to prevent ice dams.  Driveways and walkways should be kept clear of snow and ice.  
  2. Your Car – Perform regular maintenance on your car.  Check fluid levels, especially windshield wiper fluid.  Keep a snow brush/ice scraper, a small shovel and sand in your car.  Any time you take your car somewhere, whether it’s a five-minute or one-hour drive, take bottled water, high protein snacks, gloves, hat, boots and scarf with you.  You never know when your car will break down or you’ll run into a traffic jam.
  3. The Storms – Keep ahead of the weather.  If your area is anticipating a blizzard that might keep you from getting outside, you don’t want to run out of food.  Keep at least three days of food and water on hand.  Have a variety of options in case you can’t use the stove or oven.  Check your prescription medications.  Do you have enough for the next few days?  Make sure your cell phone is charged.  Do you have an alternate source of power or heat if the electricity goes out?  This might be a large supply of firewood if you have a fireplace, or a generator.  Finally, secure loose items in your yard, such as furniture and trash cans. 
  4. Snow Removal – What is the condition of your equipment?  Check the gas and oil levels in your snowblower before the storm so you don’t run out half-way through clearing.  Are snow shovel blades straight and handles secure?  How is your supply of de-icer?  When shoveling, dress warmly and in layers.  Take breaks if there is a lot of snow.  Keep piles low, and push snow, rather than lift when possible.
  5. Your Pets – Your pets need to be kept safe in this extreme weather also.  Use pet-safe de-icer on your property.  Watch for salt when walking them in the neighborhood.  Check their paws when you get home, and clean out any salt or gravel from between their toes.  Don’t leave them outside for any length of time in frigid temps.  Brush the snow off them when they come inside.   
  6. Travel – If you are traveling during the winter, check the weather at both the point of origin and the destination.  If there are storms or weather advisories, your flight or train may be delayed. 
  7. Check on Others – If you have elderly or homebound family or neighbors, regularly check on them.  See if they have power, heat and food.  Clear their drive and walkways, or arrange for it to be done by someone else. 
Don’t go out unless absolutely necessary.  Give your city time to clear the streets.  The less people on the road, the quicker the job will be done. 

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