If you live in the Northeast or Midwest, you know the drill. Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall. Four to five months of heavy clothes, seeing your breath and generally freezing outside. Besides the inconvenience and discomfort, a severe winter storm conditions can cause real damage. So it's important to be proactive in your safety.
Protecting your home is vital. A frozen water pipe can burst and flood your house or basement. Water damage is a key concern – a broken 1-inch water pipe can spill 60 gallons of water per minute. The ice dam in your gutter can cause water to seep into and saturate an interior wall. Staying ahead of the weather can also get you ahead of the risk exposures, and can greatly reduce chances of experiencing devastating home deterioration.
Take These Steps for Your Home
Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.
• Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
• Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
• Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
• Make sure your furniture isn't blocking your home’s heating vents.
• If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you're not using it.
• If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system.
Prepare Your Car
And then there’s your car. Making sure it’s ready to face winter’s worst is just as critical. Prepare your car for treacherous conditions and extremely cold temperatures. What would happen if you ended up stranded in your car? Among other possibilities.
• Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel during the day.
• Stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
• Don’t travel alone. Keep others informed of your schedule.
• Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. (cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries; blankets; food and water; booster cables, flares, tire pump; flashlight, and first-aid kit)
• Make sure your tires have enough tread. Consider snow tires.
Equip in Advance for Emergencies
Be prepared for all weather-related emergencies. When it comes to your family’s safety take no chances.
• Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
• Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
• Be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
• Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
-Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
- Move all generators at least 20 feet from the house.
Above all, be ready to check on family and neighbors who are at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.
No one can prevent the winter. However, if you follow these suggestions, you will be ready for it when it comes.