Hi! I know winter is an every-year occurrence, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared and, in case you’re not aware, it is really, really cold right now. This in mind, I’m sharing these tips on cold-weather safety from the Red Cross. Some are pretty obvious but others are quite handy. Because it’s really cold.
Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
Be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
Don’t forget your pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
Avoid frozen pipes – run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
Download the American Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores. See all Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps.
Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog.
If travel is necessary, make sure you have a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle which includes: shovel, blanket, flashlight, water, snacks, first aid kit, and extra batteries.
Keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
SPACE HEATERS, FIREPLACES AND GENERATORS
Heating systems are running at full force and many people are resorting to other sources to keep their homes warm. To avoid fire danger, you should remember the following:
Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.