Winter can be a beautiful time of the year, but it can also be one of the most hazardous. Not only are the roads more dangerous, but the temperatures can dip well below freezing, and snow and ice can leave you trapped at home! The following safety tips will help you prepare for the most common winter hazards.
Safety Starts at Home
Did you know one of the most common causes of death and serious injuries during the winter is carbon monoxide poisoning? Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly. It’s present in the fumes that your fireplace, gas range and furnace produce. If there’s a leak, the CO can build up in your home and poison anyone inside.
A CO detector is your best defense — it will alert your family if a CO leak is detected so that you can escape the home before an unsafe level is reached. If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector, now is the time to invest in one. Remember to replace the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at the beginning of each spring and fall.
Other winter safety tips for inside the home include:
- Never use your oven, especially a gas range, to heat your home.
- Do not leave your vehicle running inside an attached garage.
- Invest in a dry-chemical fire extinguisher.
- Winterizing your home will help keep you warmer and reduce the risk of cold weather injuries, such as hypothermia, especially if the heat goes out in the middle of the night.
- Ensure all heat sources are properly cleaned and maintained.
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended.
Dress for the Weather
Whether you are walking, playing in the snow or shoveling snow and ice, it is essential that you dress appropriately for the weather. Make sure you:
- Dress in layers.
- Wear footwear that is warm, waterproof and skid resistant.
- Walk on the sidewalk, never in the street. and use caution when walking on sidewalks and walkways that have not been shoveled.
Staying warm is extremely important when the temperatures take a big dive. Make sure you know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia, and seek medical attention immediately if you think you might be experiencing any symptoms.
Be Cautious While on the Road
Before the first snow falls, it is important to make sure your vehicle is ready for the winter weather. Take it to a reliable mechanic to ensure that all fluids are full, the battery is in top condition and the tires are suitable for snow and ice. Always take your time and drive slowly, and make sure you have an emergency kit in the vehicle in case you get stuck. Your kit should contain:
- Small shovel
- Kitty litter
- Ice scraper
- Warm blankets
- First aid kit
- Cellphone charger
- Jumper cables
- Nonperishable snacks
- Duct tape
- Tire gauge
- Multipurpose utility tool
Contact Ralph Helm Inc. Lawn Equipment Center to learn about the equipment we have available to make snow and ice removal easier and safer!