How To Stay Safe During Inclement Winter Weather

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( — March 10, 2021) –When winter storms rip through a region, they often leave a trail of destruction in their wake. And to stay safe  and healthy, it’s important that you make smart choices at home, on the road, and everywhere in between.

5 Tips for Winter Weather Safety

The danger of winter weather is that it can come without much warning. It can go from cold to cold and icy/snowy in a matter of hours. And if you aren’t prepared, it can catch you by surprise. But with a little preparation, you can avoid putting yourself in a compromising situation. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Prepare Your Vehicle

If you live in a region of the country where it’s likely that winter weather could hit, it’s important that you prepare your vehicle as soon as the first cold weather moves in. This includes:

  • Checking tires to ensure proper pressure. (Remember that tires often lose some air as the weather drops – you may need to top them off.) If snow tires are necessary, go ahead and make the switch.
  • Keep your gas tank full to prevent ice from getting into the tank and damaging fuel lines.
  • Always use wintertime fluid in your windshield washer to avoid freezing.
  • Ensure you have adequate antifreeze in your engine.
  • Pack and store an emergency kit in the trunk of your car. This kit should include snacks, water, first-aid items, flashlights, flares, portable chargers, and an extra layer of clothing.

By preparing your vehicle ahead of time, it’s less likely that you’ll find yourself in a situation where your safety is compromised in inclement winter weather.

2. Stock Up on Food

When it comes to food, most people stock up on the wrong items. While milk, bread, and eggs are great, they’re also perishable. You’re much better off opting for smart essentials that will last (before, during, and after a storm). This includes bottled water, canned goods, cereal, sealed snack foods, canned tuna, peanut butter, nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, jerky, coffee, tea, etc. (The great thing about stocking up on these items is that you won’t be stuck with a refrigerator full of perishable food. You can eat what you need during the storm and then save what you don’t for later.)

3. Be Mindful of Slips and Falls

Did you know that falling is one of the leading causes of preventable injury in the United States? And if you look at when falls are most likely to occur, a large percentage occur during the winter months. This is often a result of ice and snow – particularly when conditions get to a point where snow melts and refreezes overnight.

If you’re a property owner, it’s important that you keep your property safe and free of hazardous conditions. Not only will this keep you safe, but it’ll reduce your liability in a situation where a slip or fall does occur.

4. Be Safe When Heating Your House

When it comes to heating your house during a power outage, be smart. If you have a fireplace, this is the safest option. If you’re using a generator to power your home, keep it dry and avoid using it in wet conditions.

“Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area,” notes. “Keep these devices outside away from doors, windows and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.”

5. Stay Aware

Certain issues and risks are obvious in situations of inclement weather. However, it’s the less obvious signs that you must be aware of. For example:

  • Be aware of signs and symptoms of hypothermia and/or frostbite.
  • Know that some people are more susceptible to cold weather (like children, elderly individuals, and those with circulation issues).
  • Check on elderly relatives to ensure they have sufficient supplies to stay warm and safe.
  • Know that the use of tobacco, alcohol, and certain medications can increase susceptibility to cold temperatures.

The more you know about cold weather and the risks that low temperatures, ice, and snow present, the better equipped you’ll be to make safe decisions.

Adding it All Up

Winter weather doesn’t have to be dangerous weather. By preparing ahead of time and knowing how to respond when the temperatures drop and the ice and snow move in, you can stay warm and safe through almost any conditions. Apply these tips wisely and always be aware of your surroundings!