Staying Safe in Winter Weather
by David Moran, on Dec 27, 2018 2:00:00 PM
Many of us look forward to seeing snow, but if you're caught in it unprepared, it can pose numerous hazards. Here are a few aspects that need to be considered when making your preparations.
If a prolonged period of cold weather is expected, you can do a few things to prepare beforehand. Staying indoors as much as possible is the best option, but for most of us, getting out in the elements is inevitable. If you have to go outside, pay close attention to areas that are ice and snow covered to avoid slips and falls. While venturing out, keeping your clothing as dry as possible is also essential; when clothing gets wet, it loses the ability to keep you warm.
Your house is likely your most significant asset, and several things can be done to get it ready for winter.
- Long before the first winter storm, have your heater, furnace, and fireplace professionally checked to ensure it's working properly
- Outside the house, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean
- Be sure to disconnect hoses from outdoor water faucets. Insulating these faucets, as well as any plumbing in basements and other areas that are not well insulated, can help slow the heat loss through pipes
- Keeping a small trickle of water flowing through your pipes can prevent them from freezing
- Having your roof checked to make sure it can hold a heavy snowfall can also mitigate potential problems. Melted snow can often refreeze in gutters, creating ice dams along the edge of the roof. This water can then leak under the roof and into the house, causing interior walls to become wet and eventually damaged
Ice Dam on Roof
Shoveling snow can also be hazardous if you're not prepared. While it can be good exercise, an activity that is overly strenuous can increase the potential for heart attacks. Don't try to do it all at once either; take frequent breaks if there's a lot to do. We hear flamethrowers are a solid alternative to shoveling...
If you have to venture out during the storm, there is a possibility of becoming stranded. In cases like this, your best bet is to stay inside the car until you can be rescued.
- To keep warm, run the car's heater for a short period each hour. However, before doing this each time, be sure to check that exhaust pipes are clear to prevent carbon monoxide from building up in the car
- Be sure that you and anyone else in the car are drinking enough fluids to prevent dehydration and have some non-perishable food on hand in case you become stranded
- Keep your phone charged, in case you need to reach out for help
- If traveling alone, make sure someone else knows your route and where you are headed
- If you're with others, one person should be alert at all times to be on the lookout for rescuers
Whether you love or loathe winter weather, preparing ahead of time can save you a lot of trouble later. Will you be breaking out the snow shovel soon?