As the colder months hit, many of us are unprepared for Old Man Winter’s potential wrath.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) advises everyone to ready their home and cars, prepare for possible power outages, and to check on older adults. Specifically, the CDC recommends taking the following steps so that you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall:
Prepare your home
Winterize your home:
- Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
- Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
- Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
Check your heating systems:
- Have your heating system serviced professionally to ensure it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
- Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
- Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
- Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies:
- Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
- Learn symptoms of CO poisoning that include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
Prepare your car
Get your car ready for cold weather. Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires. Also:
- Keep the gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
- Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded.
Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages. Be sure to have plenty of non-perishable food and extra water in clean containers. If bad weather is forecasted:
- Avoid travel;
- Fully charge your cell phone; and
- Keep an up-to-date emergency kit on hand.
Take steps to protect your family from carbon monoxide:
- Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement, and garage; and
- Use fuel-powered generators at least 20 feet away from the house.
Leave your home immediately if the CO detector goes off and call 9-1-1.
For additional winter prep tips, consult the CDC (cdc.gov), Red Cross (redcross.org), or ready.gov. For more information about electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.