Keeping Your Home Safe And Warm Follow these safety tips from CDC, the National Fire Protection Association, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to prevent injuries and deaths related to heating your home.
□ Install a smoke alarm near bedrooms and on each floor of your home. Test it monthly. If it has a 9-volt battery, change the battery once a year.
□ Install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm near bedrooms and on each floor of your home. If your alarm sounds, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that you press the reset button, call emergency services (911 or your local fire department), and immediately move to fresh air (either outdoors or near an open door or window). Know the symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, get fresh air right away and contact a doctor for proper diagnosis.
□ Make sure heating equipment is installed properly. Have a trained specialist inspect and tune up your heating system each year.
□ Keep portable space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn, including bedding, furniture, and clothing. Never drape clothing over a space heater to dry.
□ Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Never leave children in a room alone when a space heater is in use.
□ If you use a kerosene heater, use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. Never put gasoline in a kerosene heater--it could explode. Before you refuel the heater, turn it off and let it cool down. Refuel outside only. When using a kerosene heater, keep a door open to the rest of the house or open a window slightly. This will reduce the chance of carbon monoxide build-up in the room.
□ Have your fireplace chimney and flue inspected each year and cleaned if needed. Open the flue and use a sturdy fireplace screen when you have a fire. Burn only untreated wood; never burn paper or pine branches--pieces can float out the chimney and ignite your roof, a neighbor's roof, or nearby trees.
□ If you use a wood-burning stove, have the chimney connection and flue checked each year. Make sure the stove is placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor from heat and coals. Never use your range or oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
Surviving A Winter Storm
To survive a snow or ice storm, follow these safety tips from Extreme Cold: A prevention guide to promote your personal health and safety, a publication of CDC's National Center for Environmental Health.
□ Be prepared. Before cold weather hits, make sure you have a way to heat your home during a power failure. Keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby when using alternative heating sources.
□ Keep on hand extra blankets, flashlights with extra batteries, matches, a first aid kit, manual can opener, snow shovel and rock salt, and special needs items (e.g., diapers).
□ Stock a few days' supply of water, required medications, and food that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked.
□ Monitor the temperature of your home. Infants and persons over age 65 are especially susceptible to cold. If it's not possible to keep your home warm, stay with friends or family or in a shelter.
□ Dress in several layers to maintain body heat. Covering up with blankets can also conserve heat.
Clearing Snow And Ice
Clearing snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks is hard work. To prevent injuries, follow these safety tips from the National Safety Council, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and other prevention organizations.
□ Dress warmly, paying special attention to feet, hands, nose, and ears.
□ Avoid shoveling snow if you are out of shape. If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel snow unless your doctor says it's okay.
□ Do light warm-up exercises before shoveling and take frequent breaks.
□ If possible, push snow in front of you. If you have to lift it, pick up small amounts and lift with your legs, not your back. Do not toss snow over your shoulder or to the side.
□ Don't drink alcohol before or while shoveling snow. Never smoke while shoveling.
□ Use rock salt or de-icing compounds to remove ice from steps, walkways, and sidewalks. Sand placed on walkways may also help prevent slipping.
□ If you use a snow blower (also called a snow thrower), follow these safety guidelines:
Read the owner's manual before starting your snow blower. Make sure you understand all the recommended safety steps.
Make sure all people and pets are out of the way before you begin.
Do not put your hand in the snow blower to remove impacted snow or debris. Turn the machine off and wait a few seconds. Then use a stick or broom handle to remove the material.
Do not leave the snow blower unattended when it is running.
Fill up with fuel before you start, when the engine is cool.
Driving Safely In Winter Weather
Snow, ice, and extreme cold can make driving treacherous. These safety tips from CDC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the National Safety Council can help make winter car travel safer.
□ Before winter arrives, have your car tuned up, check the level of antifreeze, make sure the battery is good, and check your tire tread or put on snow tires.
□ Keep emergency gear in your car for everyday trips:
sand or kitty litter (for traction)
ice scraper, snow brush, and small shovel
warning devices (e.g., flares, reflectors)
□ For long car trips, keep food, water, extra blankets, and required medication on hand.
□ Avoid driving in snow or ice storms. If you must travel in bad weather, drive slowly. Let someone know what route you're taking and when you plan to arrive so they can alert authorities if you don't get there.
□ If your car is parked outside, make sure the exhaust pipe and the area around it are free of snow before you start the car. Snow packed in or around the exhaust pipe can cause high levels of carbon monoxide in the car.
□ Don't sit in a parked car with the engine running unless a window is open. Do not let your car run while parked in a garage.
□ If your car stalls or gets stuck in snow, light two flares and place one at each end of the car, a safe distance away. Make sure snow has not blocked the exhaust pipe. Then stay in your vehicle and open a window slightly to let in fresh air. Wrap yourself in blankets and run your vehicle's heater for a few minutes every hour to keep warm.
Walking In A Winter Wonderland
Walking in icy, snowy weather can be dangerous, but these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can help make your trek safer.
□ Dress in layers and wear boots with nonskid soles. Wear a bright scarf or hat or reflective gear so drivers can see you.
□ Walk on sidewalks if possible. If sidewalks are covered in snow and ice and you must walk in the street, walk against the flow of traffic and as close to the curb as you can.
□ Don't wear a hat or scarf that blocks your vision or makes it hard for you to hear traffic.
□ When traveling with babies or small children, dress them in bright or reflective clothing. Always keep children--whether in a stroller or on foot--in front of you and as close to the curb as possible.
□ Before you step off the curb, make sure oncoming cars and trucks have come to a complete stop.
The Problem: Who Is Affected?
Many injuries occur each winter as people try to keep their homes warm and get around in cold, stormy weather. Home Fires December, January, and February are the leading months for home fires and associated deaths in the United States. About one-third of the 3,250 home-fire deaths in 1998 occurred during these three months. Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home-fire deaths in the U.S. and the leading cause during December and January. Hypothermia Each year, more than 700 people die of hypothermia (low body temperature) caused by extended exposure to cold temperatures both indoors and out. About half of these deaths are among persons age 65 and older; men in this age group are more likely than women to die from hypothermia. Risk factors for hypothermia include older age; alcohol abuse; homelessness; poverty; mental illness; chronic diseases such as hypothyroidism; dehydration and malnutrition; and prolonged exposure to materials that promote heat loss (e.g., water, metal).
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Each year, more than 200 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning. (CO is produced by fuel-burning motor vehicles, appliances, and heating systems.) In addition, several thousand individuals are treated in emergency departments for CO poisoning. The risk of CO poisoning increases during the winter, as more people run furnaces and space heaters and use fireplaces. Deaths from CO poisoning also occur when people sit in an idling vehicle with the doors and windows closed. One CDC study found that motor-vehicle-related CO poisoning exposures increase during winter months and that death rates from CO poisoning in stationary motor vehicles are highest in states with colder average winter temperatures. During just two days in January 1996, 22 people in New York City died from CO poisoning because their exhaust pipes were packed with snow, and CO backed up into the vehicle.
Driving-Related Injuries and Deaths
In 1998, 131,000 motor vehicle crashes occurred during sleet and snowy conditions. Of these crashes, 30,000 resulted in injuries; more than 600 resulted in deaths. Snow Blower Injuries
Snow blowers (or snow throwers) are the fourth leading cause of finger amputations associated with consumer products. These machines cause more than 5,300 emergency department visits and 1,000 amputations each year. Nine deaths related to snow blowers have been reported since 1992.
Fall / Winter Home Checklist © 2003 H.D. Franchising Systems, LLC
Windows and Doors
□ Repair cracked windows
□ Putty, caulk or add weather-stripping as needed
□ Clean and lubricate window channels for smoother sliding
□ Clean and install storm windows and doors
□ Check for and seal cracks and leaks in walls and floor
□ Clean vents and ensure proper operation
□ Test, clean and lubricate sump pump
□ Discard accumulated junk
□ Insulate outside of tank
Porch, Patio and Deck
□ Clean and seal deck
□ Check wood for signs of rotting, replace boards where necessary
□ Check for missing or loose siding
□ Caulk joints and minor cracks
□ Look for deteriorated finishes to preserve wood
□ Touch-up painting or paint entirely
□ Drain and shut off sprinkler system and other lines
□ Remove all hoses from outside spigots
□ Repair damaged soffit panels
□ Clean gutters to reduce ice dams in the winter
□ Install gutter strainers
□ Test and replace batteries
□ Check vent openings for nests and other blockage
□ Make sure vents and/or attic fans work properly
□ Look for signs of roof or flashing leaks on rafters and insulation
□ Reseal driveways
Checklist: Winter Landscape Tips
With the arrival of fall and cold weather, it is essential to complete a few projects to keep your landscaping and garden protected through the dormant months. Prepare shrubs, trees and grass now and they will return healthy in the spring and will also leave you with a neat, well-tended landscape through winter.
Although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are actually growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn. Feeding the lawn early in autumn will give the roots a boost before winter arrives. A second feeding in late October will keep it winterized and strong through the freezing weather.
If your lawn has some bare patches, early autumn is a perfect time to sod or reseed. Adding sod gives you an instantly perfect lawn that will be a pleasure when the warm weather returns. To firmly establish new sod, keep it moist for the first week after it is laid. After the first week, it can be watered as needed. Avoid having sod laid in hot, dry weather, as it will be hard for the roots to establish.
Be sure that the sod contains varieties of grass that are indigenous to your region. The sod should not look dry and should be sitting on a pallet no longer than two days. It should not be warm to the touch. You can eliminate a lot of uncertainty by buying sod from a reputable grower.
Pruning is very important to encourage healthy growth in spring. Most pruning should be done after the leaves turn, indicating that the plant is dormant. A good rule of thumb is to prune spring blooming shrubs immediately after flowering and to prune summer blooming shrubs in the dormant season. Pruning late in the growing season will encourage new growth that will be damaged by frost.
When pruning, use caution to make a good cut at a slight angle about 1/4 inch from the branch. Hire a professional gardener to help with this delicate task.
Some shrubs need to be wrapped with burlap to protect them from frost. If you have experienced frost damage in the past, make sure to protect these plants before the temperature dips down. Spread a layer of mulch around the base of plants to provide insulation for the winter. Wait until spring to fertilize shrubs and trees.
Like most of the plants in your yard, trees need special care. It is important to keep tree limbs away from power lines and away from the roof of your house. Branches can easily pull down gutters or cause other costly damage if they are hanging over your house.
When planning to prune trees, consult with a professional arborist. He or she will know the best method for your species of trees and the correct time of year for pruning. A professional arborist will also know how to safely remove any troublesome branches.
Typically, pruning should be done in early autumn or late spring.
Walkways and Patios
Walkways and patios can take a beating in cold weather. Shifts in temperature and humidity can cause concrete and brick to heave and settle unevenly. Keeping them free of water build up and debris will reduce the chances of winter damage.
If you noticed water or ice accumulation last winter, take steps now to provide proper drainage. This can be as simple as adding a small gravel drainage channel next to a walkway, or fixing a gutter that drips onto steps.
Swimming Pools and Spas
Having a professional pool cleaning company winterize your swimming pool is essential. Drain the water and cover the pool to keep out leaves and animals.
In winter, it is not uncommon for deer or other wildlife to walk over pool covers, so choose the strongest cover you can afford.
Hot tubs and spas will be a welcome treat in the cool weather. Make sure the heater and pump are functioning properly. Water could freeze in the pump, pipes or hot tub itself, causing irreparable damage.
Out and About:
Will your home welcome winter visitors ... safely? Be prepared for snow, ice or rain on walks and driveways with: Snow shovel
Waterproof floor mats
Household emergency supplies should include enough food, water and supplies to last four days without power or help. Check your home emergency kit against this basic checklist:
□ Food that doesn't require heating or refrigeration, such as canned meats, soups and stews, cereal, and energy bars
□ Manual can opener
□ Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils
□ 1 gallon of water per person per day (allow enough for four days)
□ Flashlights and batteries
□ Battery-powered radio
□ Battery-powered clock
□ Cellular phone
□ First-aid kit
□ Four-day supply of prescription medicines
□ Blanket and cold-weather clothing for each family member
□ Pet food and additional water for household pets
On the Road:
Winter transportation can mean ice, snow, and hazardous roads. Road conditions can change in an instant. Before traveling, give cars a winter preparedness exam:
□ Check antifreeze
□ Check and replace older batteries
□ Remember to keep the gas tank near full to avoid freezing water in the fuel line
□ Check tires and spare tire for proper inflation
□ Make sure automobiles contain the following emergency supplies:
Bag of sand, road salt or non-clumping cat litter. The bag's extra weight means better traction, and the contents can be spread under slipping tires.
Small shovel (to dig snow away from wheels, or scatter sand on roadway)
Tire chains (every driver should practice putting them on)
Flares or reflective triangle to warn other motorists if you break down
Flashlight and batteries
Gallon jug of drinking water
First aid kit (printable first-aid kit checklist)
When travelling by car, include emergency food and clothing for each traveler. Pack supplies in a backpack in case you need to abandon your car. An emergency backpack should include:
Jacket, hat, gloves and sturdy, snow-proof boots for each traveler
□ Clean stalls thoroughly
□ Make sure there is enough hay and straw for winter
□ Buy enough feed (fat n fibre for Chance; Shantel?)
□ Mineral blocks
□ Repair doors and windows
□ Put door on Goose pen
□ Check pasture for any debris
□ Get rid of old wood (burn it!)
□ Check fences
Fall Homeowner Checklist
Before winter hits, make sure all of those systems that were working properly last spring are still in good, safe condition.
□ If you have gas appliances in your home, or a wood burning fireplace or stove, check to make sure they are operating correctly and consider installing carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home.
□ Gas furnaces should be serviced every other year. If you have a boiler, check the gauges for the temperature and pressure. If you have forced air, change the filters monthly. While you are at the heater, check the clean out area under the chimney flue. A blocked chimney can be deadly.
□ Take a look at the fireplace. Shake the handle for the damper, wait a few seconds before you open it, giving animals that may have found your chimney a comfortable summer home, an opportunity to exit. If the walls are black and shiny, almost like coal, have the chimney cleaned.
□ If you have had trouble with frozen water service lines in the past, we suggest hiring a contractor to bury your water service line to City Code regulations for your area.
□ Replace the batteries in your smoke detector.
□ Check window caulk and repair where needed.
□ Clean the coils for the refrigerator.
□ Make sure your home is properly insulated. A professional can inspect your home for you to help decide if you need to make changes.
□ Check your roof. Missing shingles should be repaired, as well as the gutters cleaned.
□ Check the downspouts at grade level. Many times splash blocks or extensions on the downspouts get moved causing the gutters to drain at the foundation. Poorly working gutters or improperly draining downspouts are the number one reason for water entry into the basement.
□ Check the operation of all the windows, and install your storm windows.
□ Drain a few gallons of water from the bottom of the water heater to reduce sediment build up. Also, check the temperature setting on the water heater and check the hood damper. It should be free of rust or corrosion.
Fall cleanup is mostly about the outdoors, but there a few things you'll want to consider around the house. Some of these suggestions have a little of both spring and winter in them.
□ Clean and store summer clothing, bedding, etc. in a clean dry place.
□ Get comforters, winter clothing, warm bedding etc. out of storage and cleaned and ready.
□ Get your holiday decor, table settings, etc. out of storage and organized. Repair or dispose of damaged items.
□ Once you're no longer using air conditioning, cover the portion outside the home to protect from the elements.
□ If you have a garden pond with fish that won't survive the cooler temperatures, prepare to bring them inside.
□ It's not yet quite time to be installing storm windows, but it's a good idea to get them out of storage, cleaned and ready.
□ It's also a good idea to test your furnace and heaters. Better to service them now before you need them.
□ Clean windows one last time and check window and door seals. Insects don't like the cold any more than you do.
□ Change batteries in electronic thermostats.
□ Store pesticides in a cool, dry, place and away from children. Discard those that will expire over winter.
□ Have a green thumb that stays green all winter? Do some container gardening inside.
□ Clean and store summer supplies and tools.
□ Clean, stack and store patio and lawn furniture.
□ Reset timers for outdoor lights that use timers.
□ Bring in lights that would be damaged by the cold.
□ Empty debris from birdhouses and feeders and restock with new feed for the winter months.
□ Clean gutters and downspouts.
□ Remove spring & summer annuals, weeds, and excessive mulch.
□ Plant spring bulbs.
□ Rake your leaves. As you may have learned from our winterizing tips, leaves can brown your lawn over the winter, and tannin will stain cement and decks.
□ Prune shrubs and trees and give them a good soaking.
□ Remove thatch and buildup in your lawn, then aerate, this will allow moisture and fertilizer to penetrate.
□ Fertilize. This is the last time you'll have before winter to prepare your lawn for the colder months. If you're using a 4-step method, Thanksgiving is the time to apply the final step.
□ If you have a vegetable garden, pick your seasonal vegetables when you expect the first overnight frost.
□ Spread manure or compost on the garden.
□ Stake young trees and wrap young trunks. This will protect against wind and splitting.
Winter Clothing Checklist
Each child should have:
□ 2 pairs mitts
□ scarf (but tuck it in or tie in the back so they don’t get caught and choke)
□ coat (for going to church or town)
□ 7 pairs warm socks
□ 3 pairs tights for girls
□ long johns for boys
□ five play outfits
□ 3 church outfits
□ 3 good sweaters/sweatshirts
□ warm slippers
□ comforter/enough blankets
□ work boots
□ church boots
□ good coat
□ work coat
□ insulated coveralls for Dad
□ work gloves
□ warm mitts or gloves
□ driving gloves