Less than a month into winter, parts of the world have already been dealt a hard blow. As sub-zero temperatures, icy roads and inches of snow continue to affect Canada, the Midwest and the northeastern United States, make sure to protect yourself and your property by reviewing these helpful winter weather safety tips, provided by the Red Cross.
IN A CAR
Exercise extreme caution when driving in icy or snowy conditions. Keep your car stocked with an emergency kit, complete with first aid supplies, blanket, flashlight and radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food and water. If you do get stuck in the snow, use the following tips to stay safe:
- Stay with the car rather than walking to safety.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna for rescuers to see.
- Start the car and turn on the heater for 10 minutes every hour. If at night, leave the overhead light on so rescuers can see the vehicle. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.
It’s always best to stay indoors in inclement weather, but if you must venture outside, wear layered lightweight clothing to keep warm, along with gloves and a hat to prevent loss of body heat. Walk carefully on icy or snowy sidewalks, and wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry. Additionally:
- If you have to shovel snow, proceed with caution—it’s physically strenuous work, so make sure to stay hydrated and take breaks often.
- Be aware of frostbite symptoms, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy-feeling skin.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the symptoms of hypothermia, including severe shivering, confusion and dizziness.
If you lose power during a winter storm, use flashlights rather than candles to provide light. Remember to bring pets indoors, or provide adequate shelter to keep them safe and warm. Other household tips include:
- Avoid frozen pipes by letting the faucets drip. Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to let warm air circulate around the plumbing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature day and night to help prevent a costly repair job in the event of pipes freezing and bursting.
- Never heat your home using a stove or oven. If using a space heater, place on a hard, level surface and keep at least three feet away from anything flammable.
Crawford takes a close interest in weather because its claims adjusting work takes it directly into areas struck by severe storms. To better understand how we work with the effects of severe weather, take a look at this brief video.