Winter weather, expected or not, can literally leave you out in the cold.  Be prepared ahead of time and you’ll keep you and your family safe and warm this winter.

HOME

  • Prepare to be isolated in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. 
  • If you have not already, arrange to have a professional inspect your furnace.  This will ensure it is working properly.  You do not want the heat to quit working during one of those cold nights!
  • Stock up on furnace filters.  Dirty furnace filters waste energy and money.  They will also make your furnace work harder to keep your home heated, which in turn costs you more money.
  • Move any flammable materials away from your furnace.  Many fires start during the winter months because flammable items were being stored too close.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector if you have not already.  Furnaces and gas log fireplaces can give off carbon monoxide gases, which are toxic. 
  • Put fresh batteries in all your smoke detectors in your home.  Don’t forget to periodically test all of them to make sure they are working properly.
  • Test your fire extinguishers and recharge them if necessary.  Keep them handy and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
  • Check to make sure your attic has adequate insulation, and add more if needed.  Without adequate insulation in your attic, heat will rise and go right out of your home.
  • Inspect and clean humidifiers so they will run properly.
  • Insulate pipes with insulation and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).

 CAR

  • Antifreeze levels.  Ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
  • Brakes.  Check for wear and fluid levels.
  • Heater and defrost.  Make sure they are working.
  • Exhaust system.  Should be checked for leaks and crimped pipes, repair or replace if necessary.  Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
  • Maintain at least a half of tank of gas during the winter season.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are working properly and have enough wiper fluid.  Keep a container with extra wiper fluid in your car.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car.  Include items such as: shovel, windshield scraper, flashlight, water, snack food, extra hats and mittens, first aid kit, blanket(s), road salt and sand, emergency flares, and jumper cables.

 FAMILY

  • Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing.   The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

Stay safe and comfortable this winter season!

Sources:           www.fema.gov
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