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Winter Safety Checklist

Although it might feel like spring outside today, it is still months away.  With the potential for some of the coldest temperatures of the year still to come, a little preparation can help keep you safe and warm this winter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following tips so you can be ready for anything Mother Nature brings your way:

Winterize your home

  • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
  • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
  • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks. Check your heating systems.
  • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside.
  • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
  • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.
  • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies. Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas.
  • Check batteries regularly.
  • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headaches, nausea, and disorientation.

Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.

  • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
  • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:  Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps, extra batteries; first-aid kit and extra medicine; baby items

Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.

  • If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
  • Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.
  • Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away, but continue to move arms and legs.
  • Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
  • Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
  • Keep a downwind window open.
  • Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.

If you spend time outside during the winter, make sure to wear appropriate clothing (taking the wind chill factor into account) and watch out for icy steps, sidewalks or roads. Carrying a fully-charged cell phone is also a good idea. Check up on your elderly family members or neighbors to make sure they are also staying safe this winter. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.