Prepare yourself: stay healthy and safe during the winter

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during the winter
Family laying down in the snow

during the winter

Winter storms and cold temperatures can be dangerous. Stay healthy and safe by planning ahead. Prepare your home and vehicles. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activities. Take a look at the older adults.

Although the arrival of winter is no surprise, many of us may not be prepared. If you’re prepared for the dangers of winter, you’re more likely to stay healthy and safe when temperatures begin to drop.

prepare your house

Staying inside is no guarantee that you will be safe. take these steps to keep your home warm and safe during the winter months.

Winterize your home.
Install weather stripping, insulation, and shutters.
Insulate water pipes that pass through exterior walls.
Clean gutters and repair roof leaks.
Check heating systems.
Call a professional to service your heating system to make sure it is clean, working properly, and venting to the outside.
Check and clean chimneys.
Have a safe alternative source of heating and alternative fuels available.
If you don’t have working smoke detectors, install one in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on every floor of the house, including the basement. Check once a month that the batteries are working well and change them twice a year.
Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning emergencies.
Install a battery-operated or battery-backed CO detector to alert you to the presence of this deadly gas, which is odorless and colorless. Check or change the batteries when the clock changes in the fall and spring.
Know the symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
Cars driving in the middle of a snowfall.

Prepare your vehicle for cold weather before winter sets in.

Prepare your vehicle
Prepare your vehicle for cold weather before winter sets in.

Service the radiator and maintain the antifreeze level.
Check how worn the tires are or, if necessary, replace them with all-season tires or winter tires.
Keep the fuel tank full to prevent ice from forming inside the fuel tank or on the hoses.
Use a cold-safe solution on the windshield wiper.
Prepare a winter emergency kit to take in your car in case you get stranded. The kit must include:
cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries;
Items to stay warm, such as extra hats or caps, jackets, gloves, blankets, or sleeping bags;
water and food;
jumper cables, emergency flares, tire pump, and a bag of regular sand or kitty litter (for traction);
compass and maps;
flashlight, portable battery-operated radio, and spare batteries;
first aid kit, and
plastic bags (for cleaning).
Prepare for emergencies
Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages *.

Have a stock of food that does not need to be cooked or refrigerated and water in clean containers.
Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
If you plan to travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
Keep an emergency kit updated, to include the following:
battery-operated equipment such as a flashlight, NOAA weather radio, and lamps;
additional cells or batteries;
first aid kit and additional medicines;
articles for babies; and
cat litter or common sand to spread on icy roads.
Protect your family from carbon monoxide (CO).
Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the home, basement, and garage.
Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
Leave the house immediately if the CO detector alarm sounds.
Boys playing in the snow

Put on appropriate warm clothing: warm, light inner layers of clothing, a windproof coat, gloves, hat, scarf, and waterproof boots.

Take precautions when you are outdoors
Outdoor activities can expose you to different hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare:

Put on suitable warm clothing: a close-knit and preferably windproof coat or jacket, inner layers of light, warm clothing, gloves, hat, scarf, and waterproof boots.
Broadcast kitty litter or regular litter on icy patches.
Know the safety precautions to follow when you are outdoors.
Work slowly when doing tasks outside.
Go with a buddy and carry an emergency kit with you when participating in outdoor recreational activities.
Bring a cell phone.
Do this when you plan to travel
If you plan to travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

Avoid non-essential travel when advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service.
If you must travel, let a friend or family member know the route you will be taking and the expected time of arrival.
Follow these safety rules if you are stranded in the vehicle:
Make your vehicle visible to rescuers. Tie a bright-colored cloth to the antenna, raise the hood (if it’s not snowing), and turn on the interior lights (when the engine is running).
Take everything you need out of the trunk and put it in the passenger area. Stay in your

vehicle unless there is a safe place no more than 100 meters away.
Maintain your body temperature. Wrap your entire body, including your head, with extra clothing, blankets, or newspapers. Move closer to other people to stay warm, if you can.
Stay awake and don’t stop moving. This will make you less vulnerable to health problems related to cold temperatures. While sitting, move your arms and legs to improve circulation and keep you warmer.
Run the engine (and heater) for about 10 minutes every hour and open a window slightly for fresh air. Make sure there is no snow blocking the exhaust pipe; this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Be ready to look out for your family members and neighbors who are most at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, the elderly, and the chronically ill.

If you have pets, bring them into the house. If you can’t bring them indoors, provide them with adequate warm shelter and water to drink that isn’t frozen.

No one can stop the arrival of winter. However, if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be prepared when you arrive.

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