New and Noteworthy

10 Winter Safety Tips to Help Beat the Winter Blues

Winter is hitting the east coast in full force this year, and spring has never felt further away. With more freezing temperatures, snow, and ice on the way, many are wondering what they can do to prepare their families and their homes for the rough weather. Here are 10 winter safety tips to help ease the winter blues.

1. Protect Your Pipes

  • Let cold water drip from the faucet — running water helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • If you’re going to be out of the house for extended time, leave the heat on at a temperature no lower than 55°.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed.

2. Use Space Heaters Safely

  • Use as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place space heaters on a flat, level surface.
  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away.
  • Be sure to turn it off when leaving the room or going to sleep at night.

3. Layer Up!

  • Wear layers throughout the winter to keep warm.
  • Be sure to wear gloves and a hat when going outside to prevent losing body heat.

4. Use Caution With Fireplaces

  • Use a glass or metal fire screen to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Be sure to clean out the fireplace regularly; a thick layer of ash restricts the air supply to logs, resulting in more smoke.
  • Use dry wood when lighting a fire. Wet wood causes smoke buildup.

5. Don’t Forget Your Pets

  • Bring pets inside the house when temperatures drop.
  • Ensure that all animals have access to unfrozen water at all times.

6. Prepare Your Car

  • If you have to drive in winter weather, be sure to do so during the day if you can.
  • Keep bagged salt or sand in the trunk for extra traction or to melt ice.
  • Clear snow from your car’s headlights and windows.
  • Keep a cold-weather prepardness kit in your car, including a blanket, gloves, bottled water, a shovel, etc.

7. Shovel Safely

  • Shoveling is a strenuous activity to do, especially in extreme temperatures — be sure to take frequent breaks in a warm space.
  • Push the snow when possible instead of lifting it.
  • Keep your back straight when lifting, and be sure to lift with your legs, to prevent injuries while shoveling.

8. Prepare Your Roof

  • Get your roof inspected prior to winter storms to ensure that it can sustain the weight of a heavy snow.
  • Clean our gutters in advance of winter storms to prevent damage and falling gutters.

9. Be Prepared for a Power Outage

  • Be sure to have plenty of flashlights and batteries on hand.
  • Regularly back up critical computer files.
  • Stock up on extra food and water, including a manual can opener and food that doesn’t requires cooking.
  • Store extra clothes and blankets for when power and heat are lost.

10. Prepare for Cold-Related Illnesses

  • Frostbite and Hypothermia are the two most common illnesses related to cold weather. Be sure to know the signs and symptoms.