Temperatures are dropping and it won’t long before we’re exploring winter wonderlands and making snowmen in the shape of our favorite characters. Or, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be making lumps of snow that get dubbed with our favorite character’s names that rely on a lot of imagination. Winter is one of my favorite seasons, but it’s also one that makes it a bit harder to keep my family safe.
What hazards do you need to be concerned about during these cold months and what steps can you take to keep your family safe this winter?
There’s nothing worse than having your home heating system fail in the winter, especially because it inevitably picks the coldest night of the year to give up the metaphorical ghost. Before you really need it, call and schedule a heating system inspection to ensure that everything is in working order and that your system isn’t going to fail when you need it the most.
This becomes especially important if you have little kids in the house. They don’t understand why they’re cold or why mommy is pulling her hair out waiting for an extra-expensive emergency repair visit. They just know that they’re cold, and they will be grumpy about it.
Staying healthy is something that’s been on everyone’s minds during 2020, as we all come to terms with living through a global pandemic. As we move into the winter months, it’s time to start thinking about another seasonal illness -- the flu. Experts are concerned that we could have a double epidemic and while they’re expecting lower infection rates this year due to social distancing and mask mandates, getting a flu shot is always a good idea.
Check with your insurance provider. Many provide flu shots at little to no out-of-pocket cost as an incentive for individuals to get their vaccinations every year. You might be able to get the whole family vaccinated for free.
If you’re going anywhere during the winter, the first thing you need to do is inspect your tires and ensure that you have the right ones installed for driving on snow and ice. First, ensure that you have winter or all-season tires installed on your vehicle. Then take the time to inspect the tread to ensure that there’s enough rubber there to help you grip the road and maintain traction. Pick up a tread checker from your local auto parts store, or in a pinch, grab a penny and stick it in the tread. If you can see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires. Get that done before the snow starts falling.
We all love the feeling of pulling on warm clothes straight from the dry, especially when it’s cold outside, but without a little bit of maintenance, that dryer can be a massive fire hazard. According to information collected by the National Fire Protection Association, clothing dyers cause upwards of 17,000 home fires every year. A solid third of these fires are caused by neglecting to clean out the dryer vents.
When you’re getting your household ready for the winter, make it a point to clean out those vents to keep the dryer lint from igniting and ruining your entire winter season.
Winter weather can be rough, regardless of where you live. Take the time during these mild fall months to prep your emergency kit and ensure that you have everything you need to keep everyone healthy and comfortable in the event of a severe winter storm or other disaster.
The exact details of what you keep in your kit will vary depending on the needs of your household, but in general you’ll want to have:
● Three days of non-perishable foodstuffs for each person in the household
● One gallon of water per person per day
● First aid supplies
● Clothing to stay warm
● Important paperwork (birth certificates, etc)
● Medication, including over-the-counter medications and prescriptions.
You may also want to invest in a generator and the necessary fuel to keep it running for powering appliances and charging phones if the power goes out. Have enough supplies on hand so you can be self-sufficient if you have to shelter in place for a while.
Whether you’re expecting a mild season or will be seeing snow from October until March, there are plenty of ways that will help you keep your family safe this winter. A little bit of preparation during the milder fall months can go a long way toward preventing problems from cropping up once the temperatures start to fall. Make winter a magical season where you can spend time throwing snowballs and building snowmen. Don’t let health and safety issues sneak up on you while you should be enjoying the cold.