According to abc17news.com, Kansas City was blanketed with a record breaking 35 inches of snow in the 2013-2014 season that begun in November and lasted until March, which was a shock due to the relatively mild winter the season prior. Unfortunately, Mother Nature’s snow calendar does not run the same course as the Gregorian calendar, making this unpredictability an important reminder of being prepared. Don’t be left in the cold, follow these winter safety tips for your home, car, and family and eliminate potential hazards that could ruin your holidays.
- Prepare your car for winter weather with a check up to fill fluids, check brakes and battery life, as well as rotate or purchase new tires just to name a few. If driving during winter conditions is essential, then winter maintenance will help keep you safe.
- Slippery roads are inevitable. Place a small bag of kitty litter or sand in the trunk to use when you just can’t get moving. Spreading a small amount around and under wet tires may give them the traction they need. On that note, tire chains may seem over the top in the Midwest but if you have storage room, why not?
- Place an emergency kit in the trunk of your vehicle containing a set of dry clothes, hat, gloves, a blanket, non-perishable snacks and a bottle of water. Make sure you are prepared for the worst-case scenario.
- Purchase a portable cell phone charger that does not use your car battery.
- Heating system: Now is the time to prepare your furnace for winter. Efficiency is a bonus; you save on utilities and have the added benefit of staying warm. If you have ceiling fans, switch the fan blades so they turn clockwise. This will push the rising warm air down to help heat your room vs heating the ceiling. Also, placing a draft stopper under your door will also help eliminate warm air escaping.
- Windows: If your winter routine is to keep your blinds shut and cover the windows with blankets, now might be the time to get an energy audit. Most window companies or utility companies offer this audit at no cost as well as help you decide if new windows or increased attic insulation is what you need. Another DIY tip to prepare your windows is to apply new outdoor rated caulk to window borders.
- Water Damage: Prevent damage by winterizing your irrigation system as well as detaching all hoses from their spigots before the first freeze. Also, placing extensions on your gutters will direct water away from your foundation to alleviate the springtime cracked foundation or sidewalk surprise.
- Walkways: Shovel, snow blow, and prepare your sidewalks and driveway with ice melt to keep you and the postman safe.
Most families have an established plan for a fire escape but having an organized cold weather or power outage plan to keep your family safe is equally important.
- Have an alternate heat source such as an indoor safe propane heater for temporary use only. It is critical to avoid an outdoor only propane heater as use of these in an enclosed area increases the possibility of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning.
- Snow is fun, but be prepared when heading outdoors. Frostbite and hypothermia are two medical emergencies that can occur with prolonged exposure to frigid air. If you feel cold, head indoors and sip on hot cocoa to bring your body temperature up.
- Prepare for a power outage by creating an emergency kit that includes extra prescribed medications, non-perishable foods and drinking water, flashlights with batteries, portable cell phone chargers, and extra blankets. Stay safe during the outage by gathering in one room, stay indoors and try and stay warm.
The best tip to prepare you for winter and keep you safe is to expect the unexpected blizzard, arctic blast, or ice storm. Stock up on food items and ice melt products. Purchase a sturdy shovel or if you’re lucky, a snow blower. The cold weather is unavoidable in most parts of the country and you don’t want to be left out in the cold.
Happy Holidays from the Law office of Reginald Davis.