Tips to prepare for winter and stay safe
Nearly all Americans, regardless of where they live, are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives. Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.
One of the primary concerns is the winter weather’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. In knowing the risks of a heavy and severe winter, there are several ways we can prepare and stay safe.
- Listen to local area radio or television stations for the latest information and updates.
- Be prepared to evacuate if you lose power or heat and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.
- Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications and medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
- Be sure you have ample heating fuel.
- If you have alternative heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood- or coal-burning stoves, or space heaters, be sure they are clean and in working order.
- Protect your pipes from freezing.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Consider buying emergency heating equipment, such as a wood or coal-burning stove or an electric or kerosene heater.
- Make sure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements and are clean and in working order.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out.
By following the checklist above, you are one step ahead in preparing for a cold winter.
Be sure to visit the International Code Council’s Winter Safety Resources webpage for the latest news and information to help keep you and your family safe.