To stay safe all winter long, it’s important that you and your family approach things as a team. And keep in mind the following safety tips:
Keep an Eye on the Air
With all the windows in your house closed against the cold, there will be less opportunity to naturally bring in fresh air or vent any harmful gases. But you can still keep your indoor air clean with:
- Carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure that you have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home to monitor for that harmful, odorless gas.
- Air purifiers. Allergens, cooking odors and other airborne particles can also get trapped inside. Installation of a good air purifier will help reduce the bad things floating through the air, and can help everyone feel healthier.
Check Your Heat Sources
To combat the cold, you probably have things in place inside to stay warmer. Routine maintenance and monitoring will help make the use of such methods safer.
- Fireplaces & other open flames. Never leave any fire unattended. Before going to bed or leaving the house, make sure everything is out and cold.
- Space heaters. As supplemental heating devices, space heaters can be quite useful and cost effective. However, certain models can pull a lot of electricity. So, be sure to keep an eye on them and the outlet into which they're plugged.
- Air filters. If you have a central heating system or furnace, be sure to check and replace the system's air filters regularly for the most efficient and clean use. (And cleaner air, as a bonus.)
Winterproof Your Car
Your need to drive probably doesn't stop just because the weather is bad. But before heading out, and especially before going on any longer trips, some automotive prep is a good idea.
- Check tires. Depending on the road conditions, you want to make sure that you have the right kind of tires (all-weather, snow and ice, etc.), and that they are inflated to the recommended pressure. Bring chains, if needed.
- Check fluids. Gas is pretty obvious. But you should also check the oil, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid levels.
- Road trip kit. If you end up stuck in an inconvenient location, you can hold out for a while with water, snacks, and a couple of blankets. A folding shovel, kitty litter or gravel, road flares, cell phone signal booster, and portable cell phone charger can help you get out of your predicament.
Snow, fallen tree limbs and skidding cars have a tendency to compromise electrical lines in the wintertime. But, while certainly inconvenient, temporary power losses do not have to fill you with fear. Just make sure you're prepared with:
- Alternate light & heat sources. Just in case, it's smart to have a stash of candles, a lighter/matches, and flashlights/lanterns (with fresh batteries) available.
- Non-perishables. Stock up ahead of time with provisions that don’t require refrigeration or cooking. Drinking water, canned goods, and some of your family's favorite bagged snacks are essential.
- Games, books & other entertainment. Yes, you can survive without TV or the internet. And you show your kids just how much fun boardgames, playing cards or reading a real book can be.
- Team up with neighbors. Power outages, especially ones that go on for a while, can potentially compromise your security. Communicating with neighbors, or even having a formal neighborhood watch in place, can help you all keep an eye out for each other.
Not too hard, really. Best of all, by working together your family will stay safer, and might even have fun in the process.