Cold Weather Safety Tips
Cold Weather Personal Safety Tips
- Dress appropriately before going outdoors. The air temperature does not have to be below freezing for someone to experience cold emergencies such as hypothermia and frostbite. Wind speed can create dangerously cold conditions even when the temperature is not that low. When dressing, keep in mind that: 1) mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves, 2) most of your body heat is lost through your head so wear a hat, and 3) dress in warm layers so you can remove items if you get too warm.
- Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
- Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, and waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
- Keep anything that can burn, such as clothing, furniture, mattresses and paper products at least three feet away from any heat sources such as furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces, stoves and water heaters.
- With freezing temperatures, water pipes may freeze. If you turn on a faucet and get no water, your pipes may be frozen If a pipe freezes, do not use a torch or any type of flame to thaw the pipe. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve.
- Do not let your car run in the garage to heat up. After you start the car, make sure the garage door is open and move the car out as soon as you can. Even with the garage door open, lethal levels of carbon monoxide from the exhaust pipe can seep into the home.
- Never run an electric generator or other fossil fuel appliance in the home, including the garage. These devices produce deadly carbon monoxide gas.
- Be aware of any moisture on the roadways, especially at night. Water from lawn sprinklers on the road at night can freeze, causing the roadway or sidewalks to be icy. Remember that bridges and underpasses freeze faster than regular road surfaces. Even the smallest amount of moisture can cause the road surface to be hazardous.
Winter Weatherization Tips
- Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
- Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
- Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
- Schedule service for your heating system and replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
- Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
- Check for holes in homes, pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls.
- Cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes should be sealed with caulking or fitted with insulation sleeves or wrapping to keep cold wind away from the pipes.
- If you have an in-ground pool or spa, make sure to run the pump to prevent damage to your plumbing.