Yes, it may be February already, but there are still at least a few weeks of winter weather to look forward to. And with the continued cold weather comes an array of safety challenges for families to face. Fortunately, these are challenges that can be met quite easily with a little planning ahead.
Keep your family comfortable and safe by following these simple winter safety tips:
Clean Indoor Air
With all the windows closed against the cold, there is less opportunity to naturally bring in fresh air or vent any harmful gases. Even so, you can still keep your air clean with a couple tools:
- Carbon monoxide detectors. A variety of household appliances can cause a build-up of carbon monoxide in the home. Make sure that you have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the house to monitor for that harmful, odorless gas.
- Air purifiers. Allergens, cooking odors and other airborne particles can also get trapped inside. Installing a good air purifier will help reduce the amount of bad stuff floating through the air, and can help everyone feel healthier.
Heat Source Monitoring
To combat the cold outside, odds are you have things in place inside to stay warm. Routine maintenance and monitoring will help keep the use of such methods safe.
- Fireplaces & other open flames. Don’t ever leave open flames unattended. Before going to bed or leaving the house, make sure any fires and candles are out and cold.
- Space heaters. As supplemental heating devices, space heaters can be quite useful and cost effective. However, certain models can get quite hot to the touch. When using a space heater, keep it at least three feet away from anything flammable. And unplug them when not in use.
- Air filters. If you have a central heating system or furnace, be sure to check and replace the system’s air filters regularly for the most efficient and clean use. This will also work hand-in-hand with air purifiers for cleaner air throughout the home.
Power Outage Prep
Heavy snow, fallen limbs and skidding vehicles have a tendency to compromise electrical lines during the winter. But, while certainly inconvenient, power losses do not have to be a source of dread. Just make sure you’re prepared with:
- Alternate light & heat sources. For temporary power outages, it’s smart to have a stash of candles, a lighter/matches, and flashlights/lanterns (with fresh batteries) available.
- Non-perishable food & drink. Stock up ahead of time with provisions that don’t require refrigeration or cooking (assuming the stove requires electricity to operate). Drinking water, canned goods, and any other of your family’s favorite bagged snacks are essential.
- Games, books & other entertainment. Yes, you can survive without TV or the internet. And you may be surprised just how much fun boardgames, playing cards or reading a new book can be.
- Team up with neighbors. If a power outage goes on for a while, it can compromise your home’s security. Staying in contact with your neighbors, or even having a formal neighborhood watch in place, can help you all keep an eye out for each other.
By keeping these safety tips in mind, you, your family and your home will get all the way through the remaining winter without incident.
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