winter hazards
Winter weather can be a hazard if you aren’t prepared. Planning can help keep you safe and healthy to handle the winter hazards. At the start of the season, it’s a good idea to prepare your home and vehicle for outdoor winter activity and even power outages. We all know that winter is coming, but most of us don’t take the time to make sure we are ready for the, sometimes harsh, effects of the season. When you set aside time to plan, you are more likely to stay safe and healthy as the temperatures start to fall and the winter hazards present themselves.

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter Hazards

When the cold strikes, most of us want to stay inside. As you think of your cozy home, it’s hard to imagine that you aren’t always guaranteed to be safe. Power outages and bitter cold can affect your ability to stay safe, even if you think you are tucked safely inside. Here are some important steps to keep your home safe and warm during winter months:
  • Winterize your home
    • Install weather stripping, check insulation, and swap out your storm windows
    • Turn off outdoor faucets and insulate any water lines that are located on an exterior wall
    • Clean gutters and check your roof for leaks
  • Check your heating system
    • Have your furnace professionally serviced to make sure it is working properly before the winter hazards hit (note that some service agencies are booked well in advance, so plan ahead)
    • Have all fireplaces and chimneys cleaned and checked
    • Check all smoke detectors and be sure to replace batteries twice a year
    • Have back up heating alternatives and extra fuel available
    • Install carbon monoxide detectors to alert you of the presence of CO
    • Check batteries on previously installed CO detectors
    • Learn the symptoms of CO poisoning

Prepare Your Vehicle

There is nothing worse than being stranded on the road in the middle of a winter storm. Be sure you have prepared your car for the winter hazards. This will keep you out of danger and help you stay safe if you break down.
  • Have your radiator serviced
  • Check tire threads and replace your tires if necessary
  • Check all fluid levels, especially antifreeze
  • Keep a full tank of gas
  • Add a winter formula windshield washer for cold temperatures
  • Prepare an emergency kit to include a list similar to this:
    • Cell phone charger and extra batteries
    • Blankets
    • Water
    • Food
    • Jumper cables
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • First aid kid

Stock Up in Advance

Weather-related emergencies like power outages can creep up on you. Stay ahead of them by being prepared. Take these precautions:
  • Keep an extra stock of non-perishable food that doesn’t require cooking
  • Keep a stock of water
  • Ensure your cell phones are always fully charged
  • Watch the weather and any emergency warnings
  • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit readily available
  • Protect your family from carbon monoxide
    • Keep grills and generators out of the house, basement, or garage
    • Keep generators at least 20 feet from your home
    • Call 911 immediately if your CO detectors sound
    • Remove any snow build up from outdoor dryer vents

Bundle Up

If you are outdoors for work, travel, or hobbies, be sure you are prepared to face the possible winter hazards. Outdoor activities can expose you to safety hazards and they can come upon you quickly. Here are some ways you can stay prepared:
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the weather. Wind and water-resistant coats should be worn. Dress in layers. Use gloves, hats, scarves, and boots to stay warm.
  • Treat icy patches with sand or salt
  • Work slowly when shoveling and take frequent breaks
  • Keep an emergency kid handy
  • Carry a cell phone in case you need to call for help
Winter hazards can lead to serious emergency. Be sure you plan and are prepared for the harsh effects of a cold winter. Check on family and neighbors and keep a close eye on young children. If you have pets, keep them inside when it gets cold. No one wants to think about the frigid temperatures that lie ahead, but when you think and plan you will be ready when the storm hits.