For those of you getting ready for the winter storm, here are some tips to help. Make sure to stay indoors during the storm and if you must go outside, wear plenty of layers and cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
Prepare your home and family
- Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand,and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Learn how to shut off water valves(in case a pipe bursts).
- Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
Prepare your car
- Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
- Antifreeze levels– ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system– should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes– check for wear and fluid levels.
- Exhaust system– check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
- Fuel and air filters– replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas.
- Heater and defroster– ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights– check for serviceability.
- Oil– check for level and weight. Heavier oils thicken more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
- Thermostat– ensure it works properly.
- Windshield wiper equipment– Make sure to repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Install good winter tires.Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes:
- a shovel
- windshield scraper and small broom
- battery powered radio
- extra batteries
- snack food
- extra hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- tow chain or rope
- road salt and sand
- booster cables
- emergency flares
- fluorescent distress flag
Good luck and stay safe!