Whether you work outside, play outside, or just simply enjoy being outside, one way or another we all end up enduring the cold weather. I’m not talking about when it’s 50F and your friend is up from Florida and thinks it’s freezing, I’m talking about when it’s ACTUALLY freezing. Here are a few ways to prepare for fridgid temperatures, protect yourself when outside, and some helpful tips from the National Weather Service to keep in mind during the cold months.

When you go out into the cold, frostbite and hypothermia are two things you need to protect yourself from. In some cases where it’s below zero with wind, frostbite can happen in a matter of minutes. This could cause permanent damage and require the amputation of fingers or toes. Some ways to avoid frostbite are:

  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Stay dry and out of the wind.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
  • Instead of gloves, wear mittins that are snug at the wrist.

It’s also very important to protect your house against the cold, as well as yourself. If you’ve ever left a can of soda in the freezer for too long, you know that it will eventually explode due to the liquid freezing and expanding. The same thing can happen to the pipes in your house. The water freezes, the ice expands, and the next thing you know the pipe has busted and there’s water gushing into your basement when it warms back up. Here are some tips to keep pipes from freezing up in the cold:

  • Let hot and cold water trickle or drip at night from faucets.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow more heat to get to un-insulaed pipes under a sink or near an outer wall.
  • Make sure heat is left on and set to no lower than 55F.
  • If you plan to be away: (1) Have someone check your house daily to make sure the heat is still on to prevent freezing, or (2) drain and shut off the water system (except indoor sprinkler systems).

If your pipes do freeze:

  • Make sure you and your family knows how to shut off the water, in case pipes burst.
  • NEVER try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch. Use a hair dryer instead.
  • Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent, oderless, killer caliming about 1,000 lives each year in the United States. Be very cautious when using alternative ways to heat your house such as a space heater or an open flame like a fireplace.

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  • NEVER run a fuel powered generator indoors.
  • Open a window slightly when using a kerosene heater and follow the manufactuer’s instructions.
  • NEVER use a gas oven to heat your home.
  • If your heat goes out, you can keep warm indoors by closing off rooms you do not need, dressing in layers of lightweight clothing, and wearing a hat.
  • Always keep a screen around open flames like fireplaces.
  • NEVER use gasoline to start your fireplace.
  • NEVER burn charcoal indoors.
  • Do not close the damper when ashes are hot.
  • Use only safe sources of alternative heat such as a fireplace, small well-vented wood or coal stove, or portable space heaters. Always follow the manufactuer’s instructions.

Always remember to bring your pets inside when it’s cold. If using a heated dog house, be sure to keep their water fresh and full. Try to keep salt away from their paws. It can dry their paws out and cause them to crack.

Here are some vehicle preparation tips you can take:

  • Make sure your battery is fully charged and in good condition.
  • Keep fluids full (coolant, wiper fluid, oil, etc.)
  • Ensure proper inflation in tires.
  • Have jumper cables in case of a dead battery.
  • Always have extra coats and blankets in case you get stranded.
  • Try to keep your fuel above half way incase you get stuck and have to wait for help.

No matter what you do this winter, follow these tips to keep your family, pets, house, and car safe during the brutal cold. Have a great winter everyone.

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Published by Cameron Lawrence on October 29th, 2019 at 10:41am CDT

Published by Cameron Lawrence

Just an over-the-road truck driver with a passion for the weather.

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