Climate changes affect people around the world. In some areas people may lack sufficient rain, other areas may have an excess of sunlight that leads to drought, and in other areas the seasons may be more extreme and severe. Winter storms in this case can be as dangerous and life threatening as summer storms. You must know how to be well prepared for extreme and unexpected emergency situations. The better prepared you are, the less panic you and your family will be.
Following the advice and suggestions we have collected, make a checklist and stick to it. Do not ignore some advice just because you are sure you will not forget it when the time comes. Write everything that is included here and you will be glad you did.
You should consider many factors, and to enjoy the winter, be sure to take all the precautionary measures listed here. Do not rely on memory, but on the well-organized list of tips.
How to prepare your house for the winter.
First, you need to winter your house or apartment where you live. This is your safe heaven and if you need to take refuge immediately, this would be the perfect place to fully trust in:
- Check the power supply and make sure it is in the best conditions. In case repair is needed, do it months before the winter season.
- Isolate windows, doors, walls and attic.. Whenever you live in the city or in the countryside, winterize all the buildings that provide shelter for you, your family or farm animals.
- Keep the Fireplace and fireplace (or stove) clean. If objects stuck there are not inspected, you run the risk of suffocation.
- Do not block the pipes faucets.. Let a little water drip. Thus, the pipes will not freeze thanks to running water. Alternatively, you can stick heat tape around the pipes.
- Keep good maintenance from any alternative heating source and read the safety labels.
- Check the the strength of the roof In case of heavy snowfall. Too much snow can become quite heavy and if the roof is not secured for such situations, it can endanger the inhabitants and collapse.
- Save some food That can last a long time, like canned food. Plan ahead so that it may be enough for you and your family if you are stuck in your home for a long period of time.
- Keep at least one or two torches by hand In case of power cut. Turn off all appliances and light. Alternatively, keep only one light on, so you know when the energy is back.
- Also keep the fire extinguisher by hand. Appliances may overheat, candles may burn or fire may start while cooking. Most fire accidents occur during the winter season. Check the fire alarms and change your batteries. Keep extra batteries.
- Prepare your emergency kit and check if it contains all the necessary tools.
An important part of preparing your home is if you plan to use a generator. It is a good alternative method of feeding, but there are several safety tips that you should keep in mind:
- The best advice is to let a qualified person install the generator for you.
- The most important thing is to keep the generator outside.
- When you need to change the fuel, separate the fuel tank or turn off the generator. Let it cool properly, and then add the fuel. But before changing the fuel, always make sure the generator cools down. If the hot or running generator comes into contact with the fuel, it may cause an explosion.
- Never overload your generator. Read the manual and always follow the instructions that come with it. Otherwise, the generator and appliances that use its energy can be damaged, and can even cause a fire.
You should always be very careful when using generators, grills, stoves and other devices that burn gas. These include blocked chimneys, automobile exhaust, gas-based heaters, etc. They throw carbon monoxide, who is a silent killer.
It is an odorless gas and kills thousands of people, especially during the winter season, when these appliances are used indoors. And also always check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector to make sure you can trust him in case the gas has been detected.
Prepare your car properly.
In addition to preparing and conditioning your home for the winter, you should also take care of your vehicle. It can be very important in case of emergencies and your car must be able to handle the harsh winter conditions.
This also applies in situations where you need to travel. Your car must be in top shape.
- Check the tires and be prepared with all-weather tires or winter tires;
- Check antifreeze level and radiator;
- Check the gas tank and make sure it’s full;
- Be prepared with a winter formula For the windscreen washer.
In case you get stuck on the road, you should be prepared with blankets, food, water, flashlight, sand, radio and batteries (make sure the radio works with batteries), first aid kit, dry and wet. Fabrics for sanitation and plastic bags for garbage.
Get ready when you’re outdoors
Winter can surprise you anywhere at any time. No matter if the weather forecast warns of a future blizzard or not, you should consider some basic precautionary measures:
- Make sure you are always prepared with the right clothes, hats, boots, gloves, gloves, socks, scarves;
- Prepare crampons for yourself and your family members in cases of freezing rain and sleet, frozen roads, streets and sidewalks. Not all areas in the town / city can be secured safely;
- Secure garden paths and sprinkle salt or sand on frozen areas to prevent falls and cause bone fractures;
- Before leaving the house, check the weather conditions and the forecast, to be always up to date with the situation. The weather can change abruptly. Do not leave the house if the forecasters warn you and if a storm comes;
- When you are out doing homework, work with caution and do not overload yourself, always carry a cell phone;
- If it is windy, be sure to wear waterproof and windproof clothing;
- Use the shovel not only to clean the roads, but also the edges of the roof. Remove icicles and hanging snow that may endanger you or your family. Never try to clean the roof alone. Always do it with a friend or neighbor. Ask them to help by holding the ladder while climbing. Instruct all members of your family not to go near the house or leave it while cleaning the ice and snow.
Special safety tips for children and babies.
Children and babies are always more fragile than adults and need special care and attention. Some important safety measures must be taken to ensure your children are safe and warm:
- First, good clothes to keep children warm and dry. Always dress children with a layer more than normal for an adult in these conditions.
- To avoid hypothermia, be sure to follow these rules: the inner layers of clothing should allow the skin to breathe and remain dry. The outer layer must be resistant to wind and wind. The inner layers can be made of Lycra (so that the skin breathes and stays dry) and wool (to keep the child warm).
The boots and mittens should also be waterproof, the socks should be made of wool. This is so, since children play with snow, they tend to get wet more quickly than adults. If you suspect that your child is experiencing hypothermia, move him or her immediately in a warm environment and change it for warm, dry clothing.
- To avoid freezing, the child should keep his face covered at all times. It is imperative to keep the gloves on the outside. The freezing can be recognized by the paleness of the area. The child may report the area with itching or numbness. Immediately take the child inside, give him drink and warm clothes. If the affected area does not return to normal within 10 minutes, call a doctor.
- When the child has contact with other children and people, at school or playing outside, viruses and flu can spread quickly. Teach your child to sneeze and cough into a tissue or bend the elbow to prevent bacteria from spreading. You can also visit the doctor so that your child receives a preventive vaccine.
- When playing outside, make sure your child wears a helmet. Whenever possible, accompany your child to the playground and attend to them in case of emergency. If you can not always attend, set time limits and instruct your child to return home regularly.
- Never leave a child unattended while skating on ice. The child should always wear a helmet while skating on ice. Even the sled can get out of control, so you should always supervise your children, especially if they are small.
- Avoid overcrowded sleigh areas. And do not forget to keep the sledge healthy and safe. Do not buy a sled with sharp edges.
- Give your child a cell phone so he can contact you immediately in case of emergency. Tell your child how to use the cell phone and make it as easy as possible for him to call.
- If possible, always accompany your child to school. Never leave it alone, especially in extreme winter conditions such as storms, sleet, wind conditions, extreme cold, fog, heavy snowfall. When vision is affected by low visibility conditions, the child may be lost, fall or be unable to determine the distance from one object to another. Serious accidents may occur.
General safety advice during winter storms.
A very important rule of thumb is when you plan to leave the house to check the weather report in advance. One of the best sources of weather forecasting is NOAA. If you have internet, visit the website regularly, before any of your family members plan to leave. If there is a power cut, tune your radio to NOAA Weather Radio. Other local radios can also be useful, if their main source is the National Meteorological Service.
Never leave animals and livestock outdoors, without protection and without safety measures. Make sure they have access to a large amount of food and water. Check that there is no risk of fire or freezing inside the shelter. Prepare these shelters in advance to avoid complications during a storm or blizzard.
Even if you plan to take a trip during the winter season, keep the house warm while you are away. Set the thermostat to a moderate temperature (ideally, around 55 degrees Fahrenheit) to prevent the pipes from freezing. Damages within the home can cost you much more than a higher bill, so do not compromise your safety.
It is advisable to verify which buildings are designated in the city for emergencies. This is in case you do not have access to your home, there is a power outage or the heating system has failed during the extreme cold. This is highly recommended for long periods of extremely low temperatures.
What happens if the winter storm caught you during the trip?
It is always advisable to avoid traveling during the winter season. Transportation is not reliable, weather conditions can get worse, roads and airports can become dangerous places, and serious accidents can occur as a result.
- If you can, avoid long trips. If you have booked flights, cancel them.
- If it is absolutely necessary to travel, it is highly recommended to inform family members, close friends or neighbors about your plans and route, and when you return home. Also, ask them to check your house regularly whenever possible and contact you if something needs your immediate attention.
- If you travel by car and are blocked or hit by snow, make sure that:
- You do not leave the car while waiting for help on the road;
- Move your body, arms and legs regularly;
- Keep the lights inside the car so they are visible and help rescuers locate it easily;
- Do not run the heater and motor for too long. Set a time limit per hour, for example, keep the heater on for 15 minutes every hour;
- Before continuing your trip, check that the exhaust pipe is clean and unlocked. Try to keep the exhaust pipe unlocked by snow. Gas vapors inside the car can be fatal.
- If you have pets, the best option is to give them to friends or neighbors. If none of them can care for the animals, give them to a reliable pet shelter. Make sure the shelter can provide all the heat, food and water no matter the winter conditions
- Carry the winter car kit with you for emergency situations. Make sure it includes phone charger, shovel, LED flares, antifreeze formula for windshield, first aid kit.
Winter can be a season expected by children and snowboarders and ski enthusiasts, but it can also be fatal for those who are not prepared for extreme and seemingly unexpected conditions. Weather forecasts always warn and send alerts to the general public, but you should always be on the lookout for suitable radio stations, television channels or Internet websites.
The beauty of these extreme conditions is that, if well prepared, you can enjoy even the difficult moments, unless they become a national crisis. And again, if these measures are considered and people are prepared, a crisis can be avoided.
To summarize the main points.
Never ignore weather reports and alerts. Prepare your house and vehicle for the worst case. Take special care with the elderly and children of your family or with close friends and neighbors, do not ignore the needy. Prepare with additional foods, which are already cooked or packaged, and check the water supply, to avoid dehydration in case of critical moments.
Be careful with all gas appliances and never place them indoors. Do not leave the house during blizzards of days. In this situation, use your food supply sparingly to avoid running out of food too quickly.
If these tips are followed carefully, winter does not have to be terrible, and incidents can be easily avoided.