Every season brings about its own specific kind of safety concerns. With “bad” weather and the focus on staying warm, winter is no exception. However, you can keep your family comfortable and safe–both inside and out the home–by following these simple winter safety tips:
Clear the Air
With all the windows closed against the cold, there will be less opportunity to naturally bring in fresh air or vent any harmful gases. Even so, you can still keep your air clean with a couple tools:
- Carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure that you have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the gas to monitor for that harmful, odorless gas.
- Air purifiers. Allergens, cooking odors and other airborne particles can also get trapped inside. Installation of a good air purifier will help reduce the bad things floating through the air, and can help everyone stay feeling healthy.
Monitor Heat Sources
To combat the cold outside, odds are you have things in place inside to stay warm. Routine maintenance and monitoring will help keep the use of such methods safe.
- Fireplaces & other open flames. Never leave open flames unattended. Make sure everything is out and cold before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Space heaters. As supplemental heating devices, space heaters can be quite useful and cost effective. However, certain models can pull a lot of electricity, so you do want to keep an eye on them and the outlet into which they’re plugged.
- Air filters. If you have a central heating system or furnace, be sure to check and replace the system’s air filters regularly for the most efficient and clean use.
Prep for Power Outages
Heavy snow, fallen limbs and skidding cars have a tendency to compromise electrical lines in the wintertime. But, while certainly inconvenient, temporary power losses do not have to be a source of dread. Just make sure you’re prepared with:
- Alternate sources of light & heat. For such occasions, it’s smart to have a stash of candles, a lighter/matches, and flashlights/lanterns (with fresh batteries) available.
- Non-perishable food & drink. Stock up ahead of time with provisions that do not require refrigeration or cooking. Drinking water, canned goods, and any other of your family’s favorite bagged snacks are essential.
- Games, books & other entertainment. Yes, you can survive without TV or the internet. And you may be surprised just how much fun boardgames, playing cards or reading a new book can be.
- Team up with neighbors. Power outages, especially ones that go on for a while, can compromise your security. Communicating with neighbors, or even having a formal neighborhood watch in place, can help you all keep an eye out for each other.
Winterize the Car
The need to drive doesn’t stop just because the weather is bad. But before heading out, and especially before going on any longer road trips, some automotive prep is a good idea.
- Check tires. Depending on the conditions where you’re driving, you want to make sure that you have the right kind of tires (all-weather, snow and ice, etc.), and that they are inflated to the recommended pressure. Bring chains, if needed.
- Check fluids. Gas is obvious. But you should also check the levels of the oil, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid.
- Road trip kit. If a mishap takes you off the road in an inconvenient location, you can hold out for a while with water, snacks, and a couple of blankets. A folding shovel, kitty litter/gravel, road flares, cell phone signal booster, and portable cell phone charger can help you get out of your predicament.
With that, hope you and your family enjoy a fun and safe winter season!