Along with the winter holidays comes colder weather. As a child I loved the songs, smells, sights and, yes, even the cold weather that came with the first whisperings of winter. Now I don’t care so much for it. Instead of thinking about the glistening glitter of freshly fallen snow on the pines, I think about power lines falling or branches breaking and landing on the roof!
As usual, I’ve learned that being prepared is the best thing I can do to protect myself. Ready.gov offers the following steps to prepare for winter storms:
- Ø Have salt or salt-substitute on hand to melt the ice on your walkways. You can also use sand for improved traction.
- Ø Get those snow shovels out and in a place where they’re easy to find when you need them.
- Ø If you use a fireplace or wood-burning stove for heat, make sure you have sufficient fuel on hand.
- Ø Dress in layers when going outside and keep extra blankets on hand in case the power goes off.
- Ø Don’t travel in nasty weather if you can avoid it. If you must, listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news channel before you leave. Be alert to changing weather conditions. And keep a disaster supply kit in your vehicle.
- Ø Don’t leave your pets outside for long in bad weather.
- Ø Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Before you go outside to shovel, do some stretching exercises to limber up.
- Ø Watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. If you do get too cold, remove your wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and drink warm, non-alcoholic beverages.
- Ø If your pipes are at risk of freezing, open your faucets and let the water drip. Standing water freezes much faster.
- Ø If your water is already frozen, remove any insulation and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold. (While living in the Upper Peninsula, I learned to sit on the floor by the opening where the pipes came into the house and use a hair dryer to warm them up).
- Ø Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes.
I love the holidays…but I love my comfort even more! With a little extra planning and care, I can sit safe and snug in my home and let the winter winds blow.