As winter continues, here are some steps you can take to stay safe during the cold weather.
- Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
- Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors.
If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
- Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away — things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
- Don’t catch fire! Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed. If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
- Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
- Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
- Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
If you become stranded in your vehicle in a winter storm
- Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
- Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
- Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
For more information on how to stay safe during the cold weather, visit the winter storm safety page at redcross.org.
Source: American Red Cross