Cold weather can be dangerous for many reasons including everything from slippery sidewalks to an increased risk of home fires. Everyone at AlarmSouth wants to make sure your family and business stay safe this winter with these cold weather safety tips.
Even when the forecast isn’t calling for cold weather it is still a good idea to have supplies on hand including batteries and flashlights. But if a winter storm is headed your way there are additional precautions to help you ride out the storm like a pro:
- Refill medications or purchase medical supplies ahead of time
- Keep enough food on hand for 3-4 days in case roads are snow covered or too icy to safely venture out
- Plan some indoor activities - have a family cooking baking contest, gather everyone for cards or board games, catch up on scrap booking or watch the movie you’ve been meaning to see for weeks
And prepare for potential power outages by:
- Gathering blankets and warm weather clothes including hats, gloves and scarves
- Digging out that old battery operated radio and installing fresh batteries
- Keeping your cell phone charged
- Using battery-operated flashlights or lanterns instead of candles to minimize fire risk
- Checking batteries in flashlights and making sure there is at least one flashlight for each family member
Keeping Ice off Stairs and Sidewalks
Monitor your driveway, steps and sidewalks for ice. Even a thin coating of ice can result in a dangerous fall. Keep a supply of ice melt on hand and follow best practices to use it safely and effectively including keeping it off your skin and storing it away from children and pets.
Watch out for re-freeze. It isn’t uncommon for daytime temps and sunshine to cause snow and ice to melt during the day, only to re-freeze at night. Before you head out the door make sure your wet steps from the day before haven’t turned back into ice.
Space Heater Safety
Space heaters can be an easy an inexpensive way to heat up a cold or drafty room – if they are used correctly.
Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you are sleeping. Opt for heaters with an automatic shut-off feature, which will turn off the heater if it is accidentally tipped over.
Always keep heaters at least three feet away from anything that could start a fire including curtains, furniture, blankets, plants or children’s stuffed animals for example.
Many homeowners like the convenience of having a generator to power the refrigerator or other electronics during a power outage. Generators are convenient but can be extremely dangerous, or even deadly, when not used correctly.
Never use a generator unventilated areas including the interior of your home, a basement or garage. When running generators create carbon monoxide gas (or CO), which is odorless and colorless, so it can be inhaled without someone even knowing it is even present. If running a generator, it is a good idea to have a Carbon Monoxide detector with a battery backup to alert you to possible CO fumes.
Generators should be placed outdoors away from flammable objects and protected from rain and snow to prevent the risk of electrocution. Carefully follow the manufacturers instructions including using the cords properly rated for the appliances or electronics you plan to power.
Never attempt to connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring. This can create a very dangerous circumstance known as “backfeeding” when power from the generator energizes and feeds back into the power lines. This can be enough to electrocute a lineman working to restore power – even a mile away.
If you want a generators connected to your home’s main writing system it should only be done by a trained professional electrician.
See more generator safety tips from the American Red Cross.
Do A Security System Check
Depending on the type of security system in your home or business, it may run on backup battery power for 24 hours after a power outage while features that require an active internet connection might be disabled.
Know what type of system you have, what to expect if power is lost, and always have replacement batteries on hand.
Even if you don’t lose power, having the right kind of batteries will be a relief when you end up with a system that starts beeping or showing low battery alerts. Not sure what type of security systems will function in a power outage? Contact AlarmSouth for more information about security systems or find out more about how to keep your home and business safer year round.