Winter isn't over and we need to be ready for the possibility of more dangerous winter weather before Spring finally arrives. To be better prepared, here are some things to keep in mind...
Winter power outages can be much more just nuisances. The first concern failure of our central heating systems. Extreme cold is a major weather related killer, so alternate heat sources can be lifesavers. If you have a fireplace or woodburning stove, it's important to make sure it's properly vented, to keep smoke and deadly carbon monoxide out of your living areas. The same goes for portable kerosene or propane heaters. Only use units approved for indoor use and follow all safety instructions!
And if you use a generator for temporary power, make sure you have enough fuel to last for several days. Keep it outside, at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and vents. And install a carbon monoxide detector in main areas of your home, on every level.
The biggest rule to follow here is never use a generator, grill, camping stove or any other unapproved fossil fuel burning devices inside your house, garage, basement, crawlspace or any enclosed area.
And if you're low on emergency supplies, remember, you need a gallon of water per day for each person in your home, food you can prepare without electricity, plenty of flashlights, a battery of crank radio and plenty of batteries! and keep your gas tank at least half full all the time in case you have to leave home, too!
And BEFORE you hit the road you also need to have a small emergency kit in the car with water and non-perishable food, like cereal or energy bars. You should also have a small shovel, some sand or cat litter for traction. And don't forget an ice scraper, jumper cables, a blanket and an extra jacket, too. Also, have a flashlight with extra batteries and of course a cellphone charger.
If you do get stuck, stay with your car, call 911 and wait for help to arrive. And have to sit in a running car to stay warm, always make sure that the exhaust pipe is clear of all obstructions, like deep snow. A plugged tailpipe can fill a car with deadly carbon monoxide in just minutes!
The key to safety all year round is preparation. Once Winter's threats are over, we transition to the beauty of Spring AND the more severe weather hazards, so if you're ready with a plan and supplies NOW, you'll already be prepped for later!
For WeatherNation - John Van Pelt