The cold blasts of arctic air this weekend have reminded us that winter is on its way and is coming a lot more quickly than we’d probably like it to! While winter can be a fun time filled with snowball fights, hot cocoa, and sledding, it’s important to remember what to do in case the weather turns dangerous and the temperatures plummet.
Follow our 15 winter weather tips below to keep you and your loved ones safe and warm this winter season!
Before Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
Bolster Your Emergency Kit – Take the time now to add the following items to your emergency kit: rock salt, sand, snow shovels, dry and seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove, heavy clothing, and blankets to keep you warm in case you lose power.
Make a Plan – Your family might not be together when disaster strikes, so make a family plan before bad weather arrives. Establish how you will contact each other and how you will get back together and what you will do in the event of an emergency.
Tune In – During winter, the weather can change rapidly and unexpectedly from simple rain to sleet to snow and back again. Keep updated on the weather by listening to your local news channels or to the NOAA Weather Radio for important information from the National Weather Service so you and your family can stay safe.
Stay Indoors – Minimize your traveling as much as you can. If you really have to drive anywhere, be sure that you keep a disaster kit in your car.
Bring Pets Inside – If you have outdoor pets, bring them inside during the bad weather. If this isn’t possible or if you have livestock animals, move them to a sheltered location.
Prepare Your Vehicle – Before winter arrives, check or have your mechanic check your vehicle to make sure the following items are up-to-date:
*Battery and ignition system
*Fuel and air filters
*Heater and defroster
*Lights and flashing hazard lights
*Windshield wiper equipment
Additionally, consider installing good winter tires, especially if you live in an area in which snow can be quite heavy.
Prepare Your Home – Ensure that you have ample insulation and that your doors and windows are caulked and weather-stripped so you can keep the heat inside. Repair any roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home during a storm. Insulate your pipes, get your furnace and chimney inspected and cleaned, and be sure you know how to shut off your water valves in case a pipe bursts.
During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
Stay Indoors – Remain indoors when the storm hits. If you have to go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, and warm clothing, mittens, a hat, and a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs from the cold. Be sure to walk very carefully on snowy or icy walkways.
Shovel with Care – Take it easy on the shoveling and avoid overexerting yourself. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack, which is a major cause of death in the winter. Be sure to stretch before shoveling and take several breaks if you need to.
Stay Dry – Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and causes heat to leave quite quickly. Change any wet clothing frequently to keep your body warm.
Know the Signs of Frostbite – If your experience a loss of feeling and white or pale appearances in your fingers, toes, earlobes, and the tip of your nose, you might be experiencing frostbite. Seek medical attention immediately if this happens to you or a loved one.
Be Smart on the Road – Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you have to drive, travel in the day, and don’t travel alone. Keep others informed of your schedule, avoid back roads, and let someone know your destination, route, and your estimated time of arrival.
After Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
Seek Shelter – If your home loses power or heat, seek out a designated public shelter in the extreme cold. Text “SHELTER” and your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) so you can find the nearest shelter in your area.
Stay Warm – Don’t let your defenses down. Keep yourself dressed in warm, dry, loose-fitting layers of clothing in order to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. If at all possible, stay indoors to keep warm.
Stay Informed – Knowledge is power. Keep abreast of the weather and traffic situations so you won’t be caught by surprise by more winter weather, unstable conditions, or any roads that might be shut down.
You might also consider reviewing your home insurance policy and your auto insurance policy before the winter weather strikes this year. If you’d like to review your policies with us, please give us a call at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com for more information!