Preparing Your Home
Winter can be a joy-filled season, but be sure to approach it wisely. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare your home and car for the cold weather.
Keep emergency supplies on hand in case of a power failure: flashlight, portable radio, canned food and bottled water, plus a backup power supply for any device that would create a life-threatening situation if it stopped working, such as a ventilator. Patients with oxygen systems or other electrically powered medical equipment should register as priority electrical users and register with the fire department.
Also, be sure to have a functioning smoke detector. The peak period for fires is December through February. Nearly all fire deaths are in homes without working smoke alarms. The smell of smoke does not alert people since most fires occur while people are asleep, a time when the sense of smell is dulled.
The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving.
Before winter arrives, have a mechanic check your car for the essentials of winter driving. Install good winter tires. Keep a windshield scraper and a small broom in your car for ice and snow removal, and keep at least a half tank of gas during winter season.
Plan for long trips carefully by checking on the latest road conditions. Travel by daylight and with another person along, if possible. Dress in layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Your Winter Car Kit should include: flashlights, a first aid kit with pocket knife, several blankets, sleeping bags, newspaper for insulation, plastic bags for sanitation, matches, raingear and extra clothes, a small sack of sand for traction under the wheels, booster cables, brightly colored cloth to use as a flag, canned fruits and nuts as high-energy snacks, and bottled water.
If you are trapped in your car during a blizzard, stay in the car unless help is visible within 100 yards. Display a trouble sign or tie a brightly colored cloth to your antenna and raise the hood. Run the engine with the heater on for ten minutes each hour. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation. Do minor exercises to keep up circulation; clap hands and move arms and legs occasionally. If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping and huddle together for warmth. Newspapers, maps and even the removable car mats can provided added insulation.