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Winter Safety Tips

With the Polar Vortex behind us, we were all hoping for warmer temperatures. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case! This month has been frigid with temperatures in the teens and wind chills below zero, not to mention all the snow! No one knows what February will bring, so we’ve compiled a list of safety tips for cold and snowy weather. Please stay warm and safe this winter!

General Tips:

  • Wear appropriate footwear – Good snow/ice shoes have heavy treading and a flat bottom
  • Wear proper clothing – Layer up: wear gloves, hats, scarves & boots. Also, make sure you wear sunglasses to combat glare and wear bright, reflective clothing so that drivers can see you
  • Walk slowly & plan ahead – Take your time on icy sidewalks, looking out for any icy spots (what may appear as wet pavement may be black ice). When entering buildings, be aware of melted snow which could be slippery, use doormats/rugs to wipe off your shoes
  • Be cautious – always listen for nearby vehicles, don’t wear headphones or listen to music & be sure to look up for falling snow and/or ice off trees & buildings
  • Avoid shortcuts – less traveled roads & sidewalks will be more dangerous because it’s less likely those roads have been treated

 

Home Emergency Supplies: In the event of a winter storm that prevents you from leaving your house, here’s a short list of emergency supplies to have ready.

  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Non-perishable foods that do not require refrigeration (i.e. canned goods, granola bars, etc)
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Bottled water
  • One week supply of essential medicines
  • Extra blankets and sleeping bags
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Candles and matches
  • Space heaters

*Do not leave candles burning or space heaters unattended

 

If you lose power, follow these tips:

  • Call your power company to report an outage & determine the repair schedule
  • Unplug lights, appliances, etc. to prevent a circuit overload when the power is restored. Leave one light on to indicate when the power is restored.
  • Turn faucets on slightly to prevent freezing pipes
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed to prevent food spoilage
  • Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning:
  1. Do not operate generators indoors
  2. Do not use charcoal to cook indoors
  3. Do not use your gas oven to heat your home

 

Tips for Shoveling Snow:

  • Talk to your doctor before shoveling if you are inactive or have a history of health problems
  • Warm up & stretch before you begin
  • Drink plenty of water. It may seem like you’re not sweating because it’s so cold out, but you can easily get dehydrated from just an hour of moderate exercise
  • Shovel fresh snow. Don’t wait until the snow has piled up & is packed down, it’s much heavier. Freshly fallen and powdery snow is a lot easier to shovel.
  • Push, don’t lift. Use the shovel to push the snow to the side, making a pathway, instead of lifting the snow, which could injure your back. If you must lift, don’t over do it, lift as small amount as possible to avoid injury
  • Use your legs, not your back to lift/push
  • Dress in layers so that you can remove clothing as needed, but also wear gloves & hats to protect yourself from the cold. Wear waterproof boots with good treading so your feet stay dry and don’t slip.
  • If you need a break, take one. Do not keep shoveling if you feel pain, dizziness, nausea or shortness of breath

 

Driving Tips (from AAA):

  • Avoid driving while fatigued
  • Do not warm up your vehicle in an enclosed space, such as a garage (it could cause carbon monoxide poisoning)
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated
  • Keep your gas tank & other fluids at least half full to prevent freezing
  • Avoid using your parking brake, if possible
  • Do not use cruise control in slippery or wet conditions
  • Use your seatbelt at all times
  • Accelerate & decelerate slowly to avoid loss of traction and skidding. Give yourself enough time to take your foot off the gas and slow way down before braking at a stoplight. If you can avoid stopping by slowly rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Drive slowly & increase the distance between your car and the car ahead of you since braking takes longer in icy conditions
  • Don’t apply extra gas to get up hills & do not brake going up hills. It will cause your wheels to spin. Try to get a little inertia before entering the hill, use it to get to the top and then reduce speed at the top so you can proceed down the hill as slowly as possible
  • Know your brakes. The best way to brake in hazardous conditions is to apply slow, firm pressure to the brake pedal
  • Stay home. If you really don’t need to go out, stay home. Even if you drive well in the snow, not everyone else does, so it’s safest not to go out at all.