Winter Safety Tips

    Winter Safety Tips

    Dec 17, 2019

    Some of us can afford to stay home on a blustery, snow day while others have to face the elements to get to work. Whichever you choose to do or must do, there are steps you can take to stay safe in your home or your car.

    Hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature) is a dangerous condition that can happen when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.

    In adults, warning signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion or feeling very tired, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. In babies, signs include bright red, cold skin, and very low energy.

    If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. 

    Extreme Winter weather is no joke and has some serious conditions that could follow. Winter storms can create car accidents, hypothermia, heart attack from overexertion, frostbite, and carbon monoxide poisoning. If you happen to get stuck in a blizzard watch out for extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds.

    If you stay home there are still precautions that you should take in case of power outages, blackouts, or you get snowed in:

    Extra Warmth – Make sure you have extra blankets, sleeping bags, or warm winter coats in case the heat goes out. Layering is the best defense against the cold when you have no source of heating. Another good option is to have on hand portable space heaters. If you have a wood fireplace (that is cleaned and up to code) make sure the wood is dry that you are using to light a fire. Do not burn paper in the fireplace.

    Extra Light – Keep battery-powered flashlights or lanterns for power failure situations. Try to avoid candles if possible. Candles are a great way to start a house fire (duh), but if you must use them make sure they are never left unsupervised and are kept away from children.

    Keep in the Heat – To keep your heat in, stuff towels or rags underneath door cracks. If you are not using certain rooms then close them off to keep your heat centralized. Avoid opening any unnecessary doors and windows. If you lose power, then make sure to limit fridge opening as well.

    Enough Food – Having a fridge full of food is fine, but what about if you cannot use the stove or microwave? Make sure you have plenty of dry, canned, or non-perishable food items along with a manual can opener.  

    If you leave for work, there are more dangers that you are taking on by going out on the road with other motorists. Be mindful of what is happening around you – you know what you’re doing, but you have no clue what the other drivers are thinking.

    Dress Warm – This should be a no brainer, but if you are running late and just grab the first thing your hand finds, which could be a lighter cardigan, then you could be in for some trouble down the road. You could also stash a heaver coat in your vehicle for the colder months in case of an accident or you run out of gas and must walk to the nearest station.

    Layer UpInner Layer: Wear fabrics that will hold in more of your body heat such as wool, silk, or polypropylene. They work better than cotton at heat retention.

    Insulation Layer: This layer calls for fabrics such as wool, goose down, or fleece to help you retain the heat from the inner layer.

    Outer Layer: This layer will protect from the wind, rain, and snow. Preferably, this layer should be water proof with tightly woven material.

    Get your Vehicle Prepped – If you will be driving to work in the snow then you want to make sure your mode of transportation is topped off on all fluids, has a charging battery, has good tires, decent wipers and enough gas.

    Keep an Emergency Kit – You never know what could happen on the road. An emergency kit is for much more than just snowy weather. You can purchase many different kinds of kits that are pre-made or create your own:

    • Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries
    • Items to stay warm such as extra hats, coats, mittens, and blankets
    • Windshield scraper
    • Shovel
    • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Water and snack food
    • First aid kit with any necessary medications and a pocket knife
    • Tow chains or rope
    • Tire chains
    • Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
    • Cat litter or sand to help tires get traction, or road salt to melt ice
    • Booster cables with fully charged battery or jumper cables
    • Hazard or other reflectors
    • Bright colored flag or help signs, emergency distress flag, and/or emergency flares
    • Road maps
    • Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water

    If you Get Stranded – Start by tying a brightly colored cloth to your antenna as a signal that you need help. Raise the hood of your car if it is not snowing. Gathering everything that you need from the trunk and put it in the passenger area of the car. Wrap your body, including your head, in extra clothing or newspaper to keep your warmth. Run the motor, and the heater, for about ten minutes an hour, opening a window slightly to allow fresh air to get in. Make sure snow is not blocking the tail pipe. Make sure to move your arms and legs every so often to keep your circulation up. Do not eat the snow; this can lower your body temperature. Stay awake!

    Additional Tips:

    ·        Wet clothing can bring down your body temperature faster – stay dry.

    ·        Excessive sweating will cause your body to lose more heat, so remove extra layers of clothing if you feel you are getting too hot.

    ·        Cat litter is a great path creator if you ever get stuck in the snow.

    ·        Weighting down your trunk can help with fishtailing. Toss some bags of rock salt in the back!

    ·        Let a trusted person know you are leaving to go to work and let them know when you arrive.

    ·        Avoid tertiary roads that may not have been plowed. Stick to emergency snow routes or main roads when traveling in nasty weather.

    ·        Listen to the radio or subscribe for text message alerts to get notice of accidents or worsening conditions.

    ·        Never pour water or remove ice from your windshield – this can cause the glass to shatter.

    ·        Keep a near full gas tank to avoid getting ice in the tank and the lines.