Over the past few weeks southeastern Ohio has begun to experience the effects of old man winter even before the official start of the season, but are you prepared for the cold, snow, and ice? Being prepared for winter weather is important not only for traveling but also at home, so before you run to the store to get your bread, milk, and eggs you should be prepared in a few other ways.
To start preparing for the winter season think about preparing your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Winter also brings a rise in carbon monoxide cases and home fires due to improper use of heating devices. Be sure to properly place heating units, clean chimneys if heating with coal or wood, and install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups to protect you and your family.
Being prepared for an extended power outage in the cold winter months is very important and having an Emergency Kit can help get you through an outage. Emergency kits can be purchased from multiple companies or you can build one yourself, so you have exactly what you want. Regardless if bought or built an emergency kit should have non-perishable food and water to last 72 hours, medication, flashlights, extra blankets, hand warmers, and a weather radio among other items all of which can be found on websites like www.ready.gov.
Your house isn’t the only place you should prepare for winter, your car is just as important. Cars should also have an emergency kit which can help should you become stuck or break down. These kits should include year-round items like, jumper cables, a flashlight, phone charges, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. In the winter months you should add sand, warm clothing, blankets, ice scrapers, and hand warmers to your vehicle emergency kit and try to keep your fuel tank full.
The final area of winter safety is being prepared when going outdoors. Make sure you and your family are dressed in layers with skin covered. If you are getting bundled up in those layers to shovel snow be sure to pace yourself as many people die every winter from heart attacks due to over exertion while shoveling and avoid slips on ice.
By preparing you and your family can enjoy the holidays and winter months, with the ease of knowing you are prepared should Jack Frost come nipping at your nose or Old Man Winter unleash a winter storm.
Brody Davis is the Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator at the Meigs County Health Department.