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Winter Safety in the New Year

Triangular warning symbol, simple vector illustration of snowflakes

As you ring in the new year, remember that winter will be around for another few months. Are you ready for sudden storms, cold temperatures, and potential power outages? How’s how to prepare your home, vehicle, and family for the remainder of winter.

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Staying indoors is no guarantee of safety. First, make sure your heating system is in order. Schedule HVAC maintenance once a year to promote safe, efficient operation. If you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace, have the chimney cleaned annually. Keep alternative heat sources available, such as electric space heaters, in case the gas furnace or fireplace stops working.

Next, winterize your home to mitigate the effects of snow, ice, and cold weather. This may include adding insulation, sealing windows and doors, cleaning the gutters, and repairing roof leaks. Also, if you don’t have carbon monoxide detectors, install them. Then, test them monthly and replace the batteries twice a year.

Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Get your car ready for bad weather before the next storm strikes. This includes filling the gas tank, checking the tire tread for excessive wear, and using cold-weather windshield washer fluid. Have your car serviced this time of year as well. Plan to have the oil changed, battery tested, and tires replaced, if necessary.

Keep an emergency car kit in the trunk in case you get stranded. This kit should include:

  • Items for warmth, such as blankets, coats, and hats
  • Nonperishable food and water
  • Jumper cables and a tire pump
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Foldable shovel and bag of sand or kitty litter (for traction)

Prepare for Outdoor Winter Activities

It can be fun to spend time outside in the winter, but cold temperatures could prove hazardous if you’re ill-prepared. Before heading out the door, make sure everyone has the appropriate clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, heavy coat, hat, scarf, gloves, snow pants, and waterproof boots.

If heavy snow is falling, stay on top of shoveling. It’s easier to shovel a few inches of snow multiple times throughout the day than shovel a foot or more once all the snow has fallen. If your area receives substantial snowfall each winter, consider investing in a snow blower to save your back. Once clear of snow, sprinkle sidewalks and driveways with deicing salt or sand.

Prepare for Power Outages

Winter storms can knock out the power. Remember to only operate generators, grills, and camping stoves outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. You’ll ride out the storm in relative comfort if you build a 72-hour kit for every family member. Each kit should include:

  • Nonperishable food and water
  • Hand-operated can opener
  • Battery-operated radio for weather updates
  • Tools for generating light and heat
  • First-aid kit and medication
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Baby and pet items

For more emergency preparedness tips, or to request storm damage repair, please call DKI at 844-354-2255 or contact us online.