Winter is a wonderful time for holiday cheer and family celebration. We here at MedStar want to be sure you and your family are well prepared. However, it’s also a time of dangerous environmental conditions. Icy roads or heavy snowfall can spell disaster in many areas. With that in mind, here are some tips for staying safe this winter.
Drain your pipes
Poor insulation on water pipes comes with an increasingly high risk of bursting as water freezes, whether they’re indoor or outdoor. Always take care of your pipes to prevent freezing. For outdoor pipes, try to drain as much water as possible from hoses, pools, etc. For indoor pipes, add extra insulation around the pipe. Finally, keep water running overnight. A small drip is fine, any running water helps prevent freezing.
For more information, check out Red Cross’s guide on freezing pipes.
Prepare your vehicle
Heavy snow means dangerous conditions on the road. Prepare a winter supply box in case you get stranded or are stuck on the road. Keep some emergency supplies as well as non-perishable food. Check the antifreeze and engine coolant in your car, as they’ll prevent the engine from freezing. Finally, check your tire pressure. Tires tend to drop a few psi over winter, and may need to be topped off to prevent a flat or difficulty driving. If you live in a heavy snow area, considering purchasing snow treads to prevent your car sliding off the road.
For more winter driving and car safety tips, check out AAA’s winter driving guide.
Prepare for power outages
While not common, it is possible for phone or power lines to be downed during winter, resulting in a loss of power to neighborhoods. If your home loses power, make sure you have portable chargers in case you need to make an emergency call. Insulate all doors and windows with blankets to try to keep as much heat in the house as possible. Keeping a stock of non-perishable food as well as batteries and medical supplies is highly recommended. If you live in an area where heavy snowfall is possible, make sure to be prepared to be snowed in.
For more safety tips, check out Tufts University’s power outage tips.
Watch for ice hazards
One of the worst parts of winter is black ice. Black ice is deadly on roads, but it’s just as deadly to those on foot. If you’re planning to walk outside during icy weather, make sure you have proper footwear. You don’t need to go as far as getting ice climbing gear, but proper boots with a good tread will help significantly. Watch for glossy and shiny pavement, as that’s more than likely black ice. Whether you’re driving or walking, keep a sharp lookout. It’s better to take it slow than risk injury.
For more tips on ice hazards and black ice during winter, check out The Sun’s black ice driving tips.
Cleaning up after a snowfall
Ensuring your home is safe after a heavy snowfall is extremely important. Ice and snow can build up on trees or your roof and cause serious damage. Make sure your roof is cleaned of ice and debris, lest your roof start leaking or collapse. Grab your snow shovel and clear out the driveway and sidewalk, and don’t forget to salt and check for ice. Check for moisture and leaks around the house. A small drip could be indicative of mold or moisture in the walls. After your house has been successfully cleared of all water and hazards, make sure to check the exterior for any damage. Finally, take a look at the trees around your house and see if any need to be cleared of ice and snow before they fall on you or your house.
For a breakdown of how to clean your roof of ice and snow, check out Ice Dam Guys guide.
Those are a few safety tips to keep in mind this winter with the cold months upon us. Remember, always stay warm and dry, and prepare based on conditions usually seen in your area.