Prepare Your Home for Winter
Winter storms and freezing cold temperatures can be hazardous and potentially life-threatening. Fortunately, there are steps you can take in order to stay safe and healthy in your home all throughout the chilly season. Using the five safety tips below, learn how you can better prepare your home to withstand the winter season’s notoriously unpredictable weather.
Operate Heating Equipment Safely: As outside temperatures begin to
plummet to unbearable lows, a big blanket and hot cocoa don’t always seem to do the trick. Many will turn to space heaters or fireplaces to keep warm. Unfortunately, the average person is often unaware of the dangers shadowing these heating alternatives.
Heating equipment is the biggest fire culprit from December through February, and the third leading cause of fire deaths in American homes. While human error is the leading cause in nearly all home heating fires in the US, it is important to note that they are preventable. Properly cleaning the chimney and placing/installing space heaters a safe distance from furniture and clothing greatly reduces your risk of experiencing a home heating fire.
Winter-proof Your Home: If you are living in an area at-risk of enduring severe winter weather conditions, be sure to examine your home for areas in need of ‘winter-proofing.’ For instance, start by installing weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows throughout your home. You might also consider having a professional inspect the insulation of the water lines running along your exterior walls. And finally, as painful as it might be to do your day off, be sure to clean out the gutters and keep the attic well-ventilated to prevent snow from melting and refreezing on the roof’s edge.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Did you know a single gas-powered generator can create as much as one hundred times more poisonous carbon monoxide gas than a modern car’s exhaust? Carbon monoxide (CO), also known as the ‘Invisible Killer’, is a colorless, odorless gas that is responsible for the death of over 150 people in the Unites States every year. To prevent harmful subjection to CO, it is critical that generators only be operated outdoors, are placed a safe distance from the home (25 feet) and positioned away from all doors and windows.
How to Detect CO Poisoning: While it is often undetectable to the human senses, consider installing a CO detector and check the batteries regularly. If ever exposed to CO poisoning, the early symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath.
Flashlights vs Candles: Always remember to use a flashlight for emergency lighting as opposed to candles. Many smoke detectors are dependent on electricity and could be inoperative during a power outage. And just to be safe, check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least once a year.
Protect Your Animals: Lastly, here are some important words for pet owners to consider this winter season, ‘if it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for your pets.’ Just like humans, animals may become very ill and develop hypothermia if left outside in the cold weather for too long. That said, take the necessary precautions to ensure our pet stays safe and healthy throughout the winter season. For instance, be sure to dry your animal off after being out side in cold, wet conditions, and adding layers of protection (like a coat and waterproof booties) can make a huge difference in helping our beloved animals remain comfortable in cold weather.
Many people prefer to stay inside when temperatures drop below freezing, but it’s important to remember that hiding out indoors is no guarantee of safety. Be sure to use the safety tips above to help keep your home and love ones safe during the coming winter months.