Preparation is key

Published 11:44 am Friday, November 4, 2016

While the current temperatures over the past several days certainly haven’t been an indicator, winter weather will likely soon make its entrance into our region with colder temperatures and travel conditions much less favorable.

This means that residents should begin preparing now instead of waiting until it is too cold outside to get their homes and cars ready. It is important to take the necessary steps to ensure we trudge through the winter months safely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has several tips for residents to make their homes and vehicles ready for potential hazards.

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When it comes to your homes, cars and yourself, you should:

• Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.

• Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.

• Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.

• Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.

• Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.

• Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.

• Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.

• Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.

• Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.

• Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

• Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.

• Work slowly when doing outside chores.

• Be ready to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards.

• Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.

• Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

• Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. The kit should include: blankets; food and water; booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction); compass and maps; flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries; first-aid kit; and plastic bags (for sanitation).

Each of these tips can make a difference for you and your family, and taking the time now while the weather is nice may save many headaches later.