In winter, safety should be on everyone’s mind. People die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold all the time. With a heightened awareness of dangerous conditions, accidents will be dramatically reduced. Please keep in mind the following winter safety tips.
- To prepare for the winter season stock up on rock salt for melt ice on walkways and driveways.
- Gather snow shovels and snow blowers. Have them ready before snow falls.
- Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers.
- Watch out for thin ice. You can’t judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors.
- Don’t over do it. Cold weather puts extra strain on your heart. Snow shoveling, clearing debris, and pushing a car can increase the risk of a heart attack. Simply watch out for overexertion.
- Stay hydrated. Water is always important in any weather.
- Dress appropriately. Dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, wear gloves, a hat, and waterproof insulated boots.
During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold:
- During a storm, stay indoors unless absolutly necessary.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways. Black ice is hard to see.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Know the signs of frostbite. Watch out for loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. Get medical help immediately if you have symptoms.
- Know the signs for hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If you suspect hypothermia, get the person to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help immediatly if possible.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
- Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- If the pipes freeze, you can thaw them out by remove any insulation and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold. Prevent pipes from freezing by opening a couple faucets to a steady drip.
- If using kerosene heaters, have plenty of ventilation to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
- Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to unused rooms.
The Red Cross has put together a Winter Storm Safety Checklist, make sure you check it out and print it for your winter emergency kit. It can really help.