Snow Safety Tips
With many of our Southern states being overwhelmed with unexpected snowstorms, I wanted to give a little bit of advice on how to help keep yourself safe and warm in the cold. While I grew up in New Jersey, where we see snow a few times a year, I was surprised by the amount we got when I lived in Upstate New York. I would often tell my family about the feet of snow we got overnight and the negative temperatures we had to work in.
Shovel out your car:
This may seem like an obvious task that gets done when you shovel your driveway, but many people wait until they need to go out to do this. It is important that you have a way to leave your house quickly in the event of an emergency, but your car can also provide a temporary shelter for warmth if your heat and electricity go out in your house. Be sure to shovel out your tailpipe if the snow has gotten that high, so you do not risk poisoning yourself with carbon monoxide inside the car. Also, make sure you turn your car on each day for a few minutes to help keep your battery working properly.
Keep an emergency kit in your car:
This is essential for winter weather. Having a few blankets, bottles of water, and some food products that can last without refrigeration can save your life in the event you get snowed in on the side of the road and must wait hours for emergency services. This was required when I lived in upstate New York during my time in the Army, and we would often have our vehicles checked for these items. If you have little ones, try and keep a supply of diapers, wipes, and some form of entertainment if possible. A tote can be an easy way to store all these items. It is also important that you have extra vehicle fluids and jumper cables in the event your car breaks down.
Cover up the windows in your home:
Many Southern homes are built to keep your house cool in the hot temperatures, and right now, you are desperate for heat. Cover up the windows with thicker blankets and sheets to help keep your home warm. Put a blanket at the bottom of any drafty doors too.
Run your water:
Keeping water in your sinks running at about a pencil’s thickness helps prevent your pipes from freezing. While this may run up your water bill, it will save you money and from having severe damage to your home from frozen pipes. It could also help if you wrap a sheet or other material around the pipes under your sinks to provide insulation.
Your pets are cold too:
Your pets likely are not used to snow and cold temperatures and may not have grown a winter coat to help keep them warm. While some pets may be fine during lower temperatures and even enjoy the snow, they will get cold after a while. Take whatever precautions you can to keep them warm but be careful if you use space heaters in a barn or other area that may have hay and flammable objects.
Seek shelter elsewhere:
If you have lost heat and power, it may be best to try and stay with a friend or family member. Many counties have also begun opening shelters to help those who have found themselves in these situations. Try and keep updated by radio, television, or phone on where to go in the event you need help.
I hope all of those who are suffering from issues due to the current weather situation remain safe and warm and that your power and heating services find ways to get you rebooted quickly if you have lost them. The snow can be scary for those who are not used to it but knowing how to stay safe can make a huge difference.