How to Protect your Family from Dangerous Weather car and home Safety.
Make Your Home and Car Safety a Priority
With winter bearing down I would encourage you to make winter emergency preparedness a priority. Taking a few steps now in your home and vehicles can make a huge difference if problems arise. Severe winter weather poses many health and safety concerns for you and your family. Here is my advice and a list of items you should consider having on hand when preparing for severe weather for your home and car.
How To Prepare Your House For Extreme Weather
- Make sure your heating system is in good working order. Have your furnace serviced and inspected. Change air filters monthly during heating season. Check flues and chimneys for cracks, bird nests and other blockages. If you use propane or fuel oil make sure your tanks are full at the beginning of heating season. Sometimes in fall you can get a good deal and lock in your rate for the winter. Have some alternative heating devices like portable electric, kerosene, wood or propane heaters. Keep portable heaters well away from furniture curtains and other potentially flammable items. If using electric heaters make sure circuits can handle the extra amperage and that outlets are in good condition always keep the length of extension cords minimal. If your primary heat source has failed and the interior temperatures is falling consider running your faucets at a drip.
- Check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors poisoning is most prevalent when furnaces are running constantly fighting bitter temperatures and during power outages when people are using generators and alternative heat sources.
- Turn off outside water faucets and drain garden hoses and sprinklers. Put away all items around your property that could be damaged by high wind or present a safety hazard if they are covered by snow or ice.
- Weatherproof your home install weatherstripping caulk and use plastic over windows that are old and drafty inspect seals around doors replace if old and worn. Wrap insulation or heat tape around water pipes that are exposed to the cold. If you have a second story bath or kitchen, make sure water pipes are not exposed to wind and cold air blowing in from soffits air can travel underneath second floor joists freezing exposed pipes.
- Make sure you inspect and start your portable generator before severe weather hits. Fuel should be drained and changed every year and stabilizer added so there will be no issues when you need it. Make sure you have extra cans of gas on hand.
- Have an emergency preparedness kit stored in your house that includes first aid supplies, water, non perishable food, flashlights, LED camping lights and lots of extra batteries. Have a portable radio, extra blankets and warm clothing on hand.
- Clean out gutters to help prevent ice dams water can buildup up leading to interior damage in your home. Check downspouts and extensions to make sure they are not plugged up with leaves and sticks. Water pooling on the ground near basement walls can travel down basement walls and overwork your sump pump (if you have one) and can lead to a wet or flooded basement.
- Have a good supply of salt, sand or salt substitute. In cold climates you may need something other than rock salt (sodium chloride), which loses its effectiveness to melt ice below 20°. It is also hard on concrete surfaces and plants.
- Make sure snowblowers have been serviced and are in good working order. If your driveway has an incline and is rather large a cost-effective way to deal with poor traction is sand. Bags of sand can be purchased at most hardware stores and building supply companies.
- Last but not least be kind to animals don't leave them outside when it is extremely cold. Animals kept outside should be young and healthy well suited for the conditions. They should always have quality food and water that is not frozen. Make sure and they have adequate shelter out of the wind with good bedding. They are members of your family treat them as such.
How To Prepare Your Car For Extreme Weather.
- The first order of business Is to have your cooling system serviced. If your coolant is more than five years old you should have the system flushed and filled with new antifreeze. All radiator hoses and heater core hoses should be inspected and replaced if there are signs deterioration.
- inspect your windshield wipers make sure they are in excellent condition If they are more than two years old you should consider replacing them and keep one of the old ones in your trunk as a spare. Always keep your windshield wiper fluid topped off and make sure you are using winterized fluid.
- Late fall is the best time to replace tires on your vehicle it is crucial that your tires are in top notch conditions to handle snow and icy roads. I recommend to buy a second set of tires (and wheels) just for winter conditions because half worn tires are ineffective. Winter tire tread and rubber compounds are specifically designed for traction on snow and ice. Consider buying studded tires If roads in your area are frequently ice covered and the law allows for this in your State. Check tire air pressure because they tend to go down in cold weather.
- Have your battery load tested to make sure that it is producing the proper voltage. If your battery is weak this is not the time to be frugal. Spend the extra money to get a quality battery one that delivers strong cold cranking amps. Ask a trusted mechanic or someone you know at your local auto parts store what would be your best choices for a battery. Going to the dealership isn't necessarily your best option their choices tend to be limited to the standard replacement batteries they have on the shelf. There are usually better aftermarket choices at your local auto parts and cheaper.
- You should always carry a emergency preparedness kit in your car at all times. Your vehicle should be stocked with an emergency medical kit and non-perishable food and water for a few days.
- Here are some other suggestions you should consider carrying in your car a good spare tire, tire chains or straps, jumper cables, duct tape, portable air compressor, emergency jump start battery, portable LED light, flashlight, yellow strobe light, extra batteries, emergency triangles and flares, scraper, shovel, winterized windshield washer fluid, engine oil, antifreeze, mobile phone, charger, CB radio, A bag of sand for traction, tow strap, extra blankets and clothing, warm hat and gloves, hand warmers, hunter orange high visibility safety vest, wood matches and lighters in case you need to make a fire for either heat or to melt snow for drinking water.
- Keep in mind if you get stuck in deep snow it is very important that you get out of your car from time to time to make sure that the snow has not drifted and covered up your exhaust pipe. This could result in carbon monoxide poisoning and death
Carry a Tack Bivvy sleeping bag is made from a material first developed by NASA it is made of a heat reflecting mylar material called Heat Shield that effectively keeps out the wind and rain the bag is super lightweight weighing only 6.2 ounces and because it reflects 90% of your body heat back to you it will keep you warm even in the extreme cold. The bag measures 7 feet long and 3 feet wide but when folded into a small compact bag is the perfect size to carry in the trunk of your car or off road 4 x 4 all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile and could save your life in an emergency situation.
9. Let's face it the average person just hops in the car oblivious to the dangers of cold weather. Most don't carry a fraction of the items listed above. That said, it's in your own best interest to take the issue seriously and stock up with some basic necessities to protect yourself and your loved ones. Below is a picture of things to consider carrying with you in your car.
10. Last but not least use common sense if the weather is bad and it is not a necessity to go out stay home. In the event that you must go out leave a note or tell somebody where you are going and the approximate time you should be back.