Slipping and sliding on the ice in the driveway or on the street is a known hazard, but did you know you might encounter just as much danger on the interior or exterior of your house? We’ve arrived full on into the cold, frosty winter weather. We need a warm cozy home to counteract the conditions outside. Here are some of our winter safety tips to keep you and your family from accident or injury.
1. Clean Your Chimney: Any buildup inside your chimney is a fire hazard. Read more about having your chimney cleaned here.
2. Winterize: Put in weather stripping where drafts come in under doors, install storm windows and place those insulators on your outside faucets. When the weather forecaster predicts freezing temperatures, let your indoor faucets drip a little to prevent the pipes from freezing. Learn where and how to shut off the water in case the pipes do freeze.
3. Examine Your Heating System: Make sure it’s in proper working order, plus have an alternative source available. You need warmth in case you lose your main heat source. Inspect your smoke detectors and replace the batteries.
4. Carbon Monoxide Cautions: Don’t cook on grills or camp stoves inside the home. Don’t warm up a car inside a closed garage. Keep generators more than 20 feet from the house and if your CO detector sounds its alarm, leave the house immediately.
5. Outside Caveats: If you must go out, layer your clothing and add gloves, a hat, a scarf and snow or rain boots. Scatter rock salt or cat litter on icy spots like sidewalks and driveways.
6. Fire Safety: According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System cooking is the leading cause of fires and most fires occur between 5 and 8 p.m. To prevent house fires, keep children at least three feet from any fire. You also need a good screen in front of the fireplace. Turn portable heaters off when leaving a room or turning in for the night. Have a fire escape plan at the ready.
7. Emergency Preparedness: In case you lose power or can’t get out for a few days, please make the necessary preparations now. Buy food that doesn’t need refrigeration or cooking. Keep a supply of drinking water at the ready. Make sure your cell phone is charged and your gas tank is always at least half full.
8. Pack an Emergency Kit: If you have to leave your home for some reason, have supplies in a container you can grab and go. A backpack works nicely. Fill it with a flashlight with fresh batteries, a battery-operated or windup radio, a first-aid kit, extra prescription medicine, some cash in case credit cards don’t work, pet supplies and any legal documents you may need.
9. Be Ready: You never know if winter storms will knock out your heat, power, communications or all three. It may seem like an obvious winter safety tip, but have a plan in place for each scenario. Remember if you’re unable to use the roads in and out of your home, emergency vehicles won’t be able to, either.