Here in Northeast Ohio – especially near Lake Erie – when a winter storm hits, it’s absolutely crucial to be well-prepared. So, as we head into the coldest months of the year and anticipate winter’s chilly arrival, now is the best time to discuss winter safety tips.
For the safest winter at home this holiday season and beyond, there are several precautions you can take now. And why not handle them while you can? This way, if we experience a blizzard, you’ll be ready for anything. After all, we’ve had some pretty severe winter weather (remember 1978?), and a simple checklist or safety plan can be a lifesaver in an emergency. Our neighborly experts break it into a handy step-by-step guide for your family.
Six winter storm safety tips
We know you all are intelligent homeowners – you’re reading our blog, aren’t you? So, keep this winter safety list close at hand in the event a severe winter storm visits our area this season. Remember the familiar saying? Better safe than sorry!
1. Maintain communication. It’s essential to talk with your family before a storm hits. Together, you can create a smart plan of action so everyone knows how to reach each other should severe winter weather disrupt your daily routines.
First, it’s wise to keep your cell phones well-charged, but it’s imperative to do so before a storm hits. Second, keep plenty of batteries nearby and a battery-powered radio. Finally, check on elderly folks before, during, and after a winter storm.
2. Plan ahead for warmth. When a blizzard is headed our way, it’s going to get cold – especially when snow or ice accumulates on power lines, and we experience a power loss. Whatever the winter storm situation, plan ahead to stay warm and safe.
First order of business – keep coats, hats, gloves, blankets, and other items that provide warmth nearby. Second thing – don’t use your stove to heat your home; this is dangerous. Third, if you have a wood-burning fireplace, keep your wood pile fully stocked and located where you can reach it easily, even when the snow piles up. Lastly, if you need to use an electric heater, be certain it has an automatic shutoff and is always a safe distance from anything flammable.
3. Stay fully charged and ready. As we mentioned above, you need to be prepared if you experience a power outage. In our modern electronic world, this means keeping our devices fully charged and ready for prolonged use in the event of a loss of power to your home.
First task: keep lanterns and battery-powered flashlights close by for easy access if the power goes out. Second, stash extra batteries in a convenient location. And finally, charge up any portable device chargers before the storm – you’ll be very glad you did if the power stays out for a while.
4. Stock up the pantry. Non-perishable food. You may not be a huge fan of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee or canned veggies usually, but you’ll sing their praises when severe weather keeps you from making a fast food run! They’re a lifesaver if you can’t use your refrigerator or cook.
For maximum protection, keep at least a week’s worth of food on hand at all times, especially non-perishable items that don’t have to be kept in the fridge. In addition, keep extra supplies such as batteries, lanterns, flashlights, rock salt, water, shovels, and blankets nearby.
Neighborly tip: Never use charcoal or gas grills indoors. Same with fueled heaters. Keep them outside, where there is adequate ventilation. Their emissions can be lethal in a confined space.
5. Stay put during a weather emergency. If the weather folks predict a winter storm, or worse yet, a blizzard – stay home. Nothing is worth risking your family’s lives for. If you absolutely must travel somewhere, be sure your vehicle is fully fueled and loaded with emergency items like a windshield scraper, jumper cables, gloves, hats, scarves, blankets, flares, a tool kit, and possibly even some canned goods.
6. Keep the water flowing. When the temperature dips and the power is off, your pipes can freeze. Take some precautions before this happens.
It’s wise to leave your faucets dripping to allow the slowly-flowing water to alleviate pressure and keep your pipes from freezing. If your pipes do freeze – and you still have electricity – use a hairdryer to try and thaw them. But please be careful while doing this. If you need assistance, please call a licensed plumber right away. Don’t wait until your pipes burst and flood your home with ice water.
And a bonus winter safety tip!
In addition to all the winter safety tips above, there’s one more sure-fire way to keep your home and family safe this season. If you still need to get your seasonal furnace tune-up, now is the time to schedule one. Regular maintenance is essential to keep your heating system working correctly, efficiently, and safely. Remember, regular heater tune-ups provide the following:
• Lower energy bills
• Greater efficiency
• Maximized system lifespan
• Cleaner indoor air
• Improved heating performance
• Fewer breakdowns
• More consistent comfort throughout your home
• Peace of mind
• Maximum safety for your family
• … and so much more!
Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling helps you stay cozy and safe
We want all of our customers to be well-prepared and protected before severe winter weather strikes. So, if you require HVAC service for any reason – including winter storm damage – call our neighborly team to come and assist you. We provide emergency heating and cooling service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we’re always just a phone call away when you need us.