Posted by Weatherflow ● February, 2023
Wintertime Preparation & Safety Tips
Winter can bring dangerously low temperatures and treacherous elements like snow, freezing rain, and ice. Together these seasonal changes can increase the risk of accident, injury, or even death if you are not prepared for the possibility of harsh winter conditions. Increased automobile accidents, chances of being stranded by hazardous conditions in your car or at home, cold conditions such as hypothermia and frostbite, and more frequent accidents & injuries during activities like snow removal are all common wintertime hazard scenarios that may not be able to be avoided. Still, It never hurts to prepare ahead of time for wintery weather.
There are several different areas in which you can prepare to stay as safe as possible in the winter, from your home and property to your vehicle and even your own health and knowledge on winter weather. It is also important to know the typical winter weather conditions for your area to be best prepared for a safe, healthy, and (hopefully) enjoyable winter season.
PREPARING YOUR HOME AND PROPERTY
- Check the seal of all doors and windows. Prevent cold air from drafting into your home through window and door crevices by checking the seal of each door and window.
- Winterize your HVAC system. Test your heating system mid-fall season for any problems such as leaks or maintenance issues, and perform any annual maintenance like replacing air filters or cleaning vents. Additionally, clean and cover your air condensing unit and consider removing any window A.C. units for the winter months.
- Check out your insulation and roof. A well-maintained roof and proper insulation will go a long way in keeping your home protected from the elements so that you stay warm and dry all winter long.
- Winterize your pipes. Turn off and drain any exterior faucets, and insulate any exposed pipework.
- What to do if your pipes freeze:
- Keep the faucet open while you work to thaw the pipe.
- Use a hair dryer, heat lamp, heating pad, or small space heater to slowly thaw the frozen pipe. Do NOT use a torch or flame of any kind to attempt to thaw a pipe.
- Check other faucets in your home. If one pipe freezes, it is likely that other pipes in your home are also frozen.
- If you cannot thaw a frozen water pipe or your pipes burst, call a local licensed plumber.
- What to do if your pipes freeze:
- Prepare your outdoor space and store items.
- Check the sealing on any patios, decks, or other treated outdoor surfaces on your property.
- Cover or store outdoor furniture and grills.
- Clean any garden or lawn tools and equipment, and check that the lawn mower & other motorized lawn equipment is drained of gasoline.
- Consider a home weather system. Adding a home weather station like Tempest to your backyard or rooftop can ensure that you’re getting the best, most accurate weather data at your home’s exact location so you can make informed decisions all winter long. Set alerts and custom automations based on temperature, moisture, wind data, and more.
PREPARING YOUR VEHICLEWinter road conditions can sometimes become dangerous quickly and with little warning. Making sure your vehicle is in its best condition going into the winter months and keeping an emergency kit inside your vehicle will no doubt keep you much safer in the case of extreme road conditions or being stranded in your vehicle.
- Check your vehicle’s antifreeze levels, battery, brakes, heater, and defroster at a local mechanic.
- If you live in an area at increased risk for dangerous road conditions, check the tread on your tires or consider winter tires, or winter accessories like chains or studs, depending on your location.
- Keep your gas from falling below half a tank in case of evacuation or power outages, and to avoid freezing the fuel line.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. These can be vital in cases where drivers are stranded on roadways for long periods of time. If you do get stranded while driving in hazardous winter conditions, do NOT leave your vehicle. A car emergency kit can include:
- Blankets and extra warm clothing
- Non-perishable food items or foods with a long shelf life
- Cell phone chargers and backup batteries or charging packs
- Emergency vehicle items like an ice scraper or jumper cables
- Flare gun and flashlight
Whenever possible, it is best to avoid driving during severe winter weather. However, if you must drive or find yourself caught in a winter storm while on the road, it is best to drive slowly and to stick to major roadways whenever possible. Avoid traveling alone, or at least let someone know where you're going and when you should arrive, and dress warmly for the trip in layered clothing. If you do get stuck in the road, stay with your vehicle and be sure to keep the exhaust pipe clear of any snow buildup.PREPARING YOURSELF
Staying healthy throughout the winter means you’re in your best health in the unfortunate circumstance of extreme winter weather. Getting plenty of rest and fluids no matter what is a great way to make sure you feel your best when navigating the winter season, which can minimize mistakes, accidents, or injury and leave you healthy enough to help those around you.
- Know the typical winter weather conditions for your location. While extreme weather events can occur anywhere, being familiar with the typical day-to-day weather conditions during the wintertime in your area is one of the surest ways to stay safe throughout the season.
- Know the winter weather lingo. Are you under a winter storm watch? A warning? An advisory? Knowing the different terms associated with incoming winter weather can make all the difference in how you prepare for what’s ahead.
- Dress warmly in loose, lightweight layers with appropriate outerwear.
The winter months can bring a frozen wonderland that is both beautiful and dangerous. If you find yourself wanting to set up for winter time success so that you and your family stay safe and healthy during the coldest times of the year, remember to think about prepping your home and property, your vehicle, and (maybe most importantly of all) yourself!