After an unseasonably warm start on the East Coast, winter is finally letting us feel its chill. It might seem like yesterday that high temperatures were breaking records all over the place, so it can be easy to disregard the recent cold. Winter weather can present a lot of hazards, though, so it’s important to be aware of what might happen in your area and be prepared for what winter may bring. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the worst that winter can throw at you.
- In your home, the biggest concerns will likely be power outages, frozen pipes and malfunctioning heating. Make time to get your power and gas appliances inspected, and make sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors are working. If your region is prone to winter storms that take out the power, prepare by buying nonperishable food and water, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. Consider buying a backup generator for your home, especially if you live in a rural region, where utility services might take a while to reach you.
- When you are traveling, make sure to check the weather ahead of time. It can change quickly, but meteorologists are usually able to predict winter storms within about half a day of their arrival, which will help you know if your travel plans are feasible. Top off the fluids in your car and check the treads on your tires to help lower the risk of a breakdown or wreck. Bring a winter travel pack along, just in case the worst does happen. Your kit should include food and water, road flares, flashlights, a first aid kit, blankets and cat litter or sand to help tires gain traction on snow or ice.
- When you go outside, dress for the weather with several layers of light, warm clothing. Be on the lookout for icy patches, which can cause an urgent care visit with one wrong step. Cat litter or sand can help if sprinkled on the sidewalk, or you can melt the ice with rock salt. And if you’re shoveling snow or doing any strenuous labor, make sure to go slowly and take the time to warm up in order to prevent heart trouble.
Winter has been a scary season throughout history because of the many dangers the weather can bring with it. But with a little preparation, you can head off the risks and keep your family healthy and comfortable throughout the season! And remember, if the worst does happen, your local AFC will see you, no appointment necessary.