A little winter preparation can save you time and money during the coldest months
Winter weather can be dangerous for people who are unprepared. Seventy percent of winter storm deaths are automobile-related, and one-fourth of fatalities are the result of individuals caught in a storm.
You can prepare for winter weather conditions by following these helpful winter preparation tips.
For your home
Since winter weather conditions can appear quickly, it's important to keep plenty of food and general supplies on hand.
Clear rain gutters, disconnect and drain all outside hoses; shut off
outside water valves, if possible.
Insulate your walls and attics; caulk and weather-strip doors and
Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on the
Wrap pipes in your basement or craw spaces with foam insulators;
consider a water heater blanket.
If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you're not using
- Hire a contractor to check the ability of the roof to sustain the heavy weight from snow. Make sure your furniture isn't blocking your heating vents.
For your safety
Two major medical emergencies cause deaths during winter weather conditions – frostbite and hypothermia. If you notice these symptoms, get medical help immediately.
Frozen body tissue and loss of feeling, and a white or pale appearance in the fingers, toes, ears and nose.
Seek medical attention immediately. Affected area(s) should be gradually warmed.
Disorientation, drowsiness, exhaustion, incoherence, memory loss, slurred speech and uncontrollable shivering.
Get medical attention immediately. If medical attention is unavailable, gradually warm the body's core, not the arms or legs. Get the victim into dry clothing, and warm the person up with blankets. Then give him warm – not hot – broth, beverages or food.
For your car
Winter weather conditions can make driving hazardous. It's important to be prepared if you're in your car when a disaster occurs.
When the temperatures start to drop, make sure these parts of your car are in tip-top shape:
Make sure your antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, gas tank, oil and
other fluids are full
Make sure your tires have enough tread; consider getting snow
Keep rock salt and sand in your trunk to help increase traction and to
Before you drive, do a good job of clearing snow off the top of the
car, the headlights and the windows.
Add your auto club, insurance agent or towing service phone numbers to
your cell phone.
Keep a cold-weather kit in your trunk that includes blankets, snacks, a
first aid kit and a flashlight.
If you become trapped in your car when a storm arrives, remember:
Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are more likely to find
Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes every hour. Clear any snow
from the exhaust pipe outside your car to reduce your chances of
getting carbon monoxide poisoning.
Move your body to maintain heat.
Use maps, floor mats and seat covers for insulation.
Take turns sleeping. Someone should always be awake to look for rescue
Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
Turn on the inside light at night so rescue crews can find you.
- If you are stranded in a remote area, stomp "SOS" or "HELP" in the snow.
These winter weather tips are meant to help you make decisions that may reduce your risk. Of course, we can't note every possible risk, and we can't guarantee that these tips will work for you. However, we hope that if you use some of them, you'll better protect your family and yourself.