Weathering Winter: Simple Steps for a Safe Season
With winter weather on its way, remember prevention is the first step to safety. Whether on the road, at home, and during the holidays, there are things we can do now to reduce stress and stay safe this winter and when inclement weather strikes.
Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy, SAFE holiday season!
On the Road
Check out this short video with tips to prepare your car for winter:
Make sure you have an emergency kit in the trunk of your car. Inventory your items and make sure everything is still working well. For example, check flashlight batteries and expiration dates on food and/or medications. Here is a suggested list of things to include in your emergency kit:
- Flash light
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Small folding shovel
- Tow and tire chains
- Basic tool kit
- Bag of road salt or cat litter
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Warning flares
- Prepare to stay warm. Keep layers in your car, and make sure you have a large, water-resistant coat that can fit over several layers of clothing. You will also want a pair of waterproof boots that will fit over several pairs of socks.
When a storm hits, stay off the road if possible. If you must drive, reduce your speed and be sure to allow extra time for braking. Never use cruise control on icy roads, and stay calm if you begin to skid.
An important reminder: never warm up your vehicle in a closed garage!
Snow Shoveling Safety
Wear the right clothes.
Breathable layers: Stick to cotton and silk over heavy wools.
Waterproof boots with good traction
Thick, warm socks
Head covering to prevent loss of body heat
Mittens or gloves to protect your hands
Sunscreen and lip balm to protect exposed skin
It warms up your body and may prevent muscle strains.
Use proper form.
Squat down with your legs apart, back up straight and heels grounded
Never throw snow to the side or behind you
Get outside as soon as you can.
Fresh, powdery snow is easier to clear than wet, compact snow.
Shovel after every few inches of accumulation.
Work slowly and take breaks.
Shoveling snow is exercise: It raises your heart rate and blood pressure.
Pause every now and then to prevent exhaustion. Take time to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you have a medical condition or don’t exercise regularly, consult with your doctor before shoveling snow or using a snowblower.
Parking Lot Safety
Regardless of the weather, parking lots are busy this time of year and there is increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Please keep these tips in mind:
- Use identified travel lanes and watch out for others cutting across lanes.
- Slow down and watch out for cars backing up.
- Watch for pedestrians.
- Park away from other vehicles to help avoid door dings.
- Store purchases, packages, and valuables out of sight.
- Always lock your vehicle and take your keys.
Prepare your home in advance of a winter storm.
- Have your furnace serviced to make sure it’s in shape for severe weather.
- Consider buying a generator in case you lose power, Generac® provides an exclusive offer to State Farm® customers when they purchase an automatic standby generator. Generators are also handy for other weather emergencies, like hurricanes and high-wind events. Remember: never use a generator indoors.
- Keep the pantry stocked with nonperishable groceries and extra water.
- Prepare emergency kits. Keep one emergency kit in your home and one in each family member's vehicle. Use the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Supply list to help create your kit.
More tips to help keep your home safe.
- Keep candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface and at least one foot away in all directions from combustible items.
- Don’t leave candles unattended or within reach of children and pets.
- Don’t allow candles to burn to the bottom of their container.
- Try using “flameless” candles instead.
- Use only lights that have been tested for safety by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as UL. Lights for both indoor and outdoor usage must meet the testing laboratories' strict and verified standards.
- Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections.
- Check outdoor lights for labels showing the lights have been certified for outdoor use, and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.
Selecting and using extension cords:
- Purchase only cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory.
- For outdoor projects, use only extension cords marked for outdoor use.
- Avoid powering multiple appliances with one cord.
- Never use indoor extension cords outdoors.
- Don’t plug multiple cords together.
- Don’t run extension cords under rugs or furniture and never use staples or nails to secure them.
- Stop using extension cords that feel hot to the touch.
Cooking Safety Tips:
- The leading cause of fire in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
- Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time.
- Never throw water on a kitchen fire.
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms.
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