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Stay Safe During Winter Storms

As the temperature dipped below -9 degrees, and with several inches of snow in the forecast, it is incredibly important to heed safety advice.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control offers several emergency preparedness tips to stay safe during these harsh winter days:

  1. Relax and take it easy: cold weather puts strain on the heart, which can lead to heart attacks.  If you have to go outside into the cold to shovel or do other tasks, make sure to wear plenty of layers and take it easy.  Go slow and don’t rush to complete your tasks.
  2. Be vigilant about heat sources: many will be using space heaters or other sources of heat inside their homes to keep everyone warm.  However, these heat sources can lead to house fires if not properly supervised.  If you’re going to use a space heater, fireplace or wood stove, make sure to have proper ventilation and make sure there aren’t any leaks.  Also, make sure space heaters are at least 3 feet away from drapes or other flammable items.
  3. Use battery-operated lighting sources if power goes out: unfortunately, many of us in the mid-Michigan area recently had a terrible experience with power outage for an extended amount of time.  The CDC suggests that you use battery-operated lighting if needed, such as flashlights.  If you’re going to use candles, make sure to never leave them unattended.
  4. Conserve heat in your home: even if you crank the heat up in your home, it’s hard to keep Jack Frost from nipping at your toes when temperatures are as cold as they’ve been lately.  To conserve heat, only open doors to the outside and windows when absolutely necessary.
  5. Check on elderly family, friends, and neighbors: the winter time can be especially brutal for the elderly who are often working with a compromised immune system or at best, an aging one.  Make sure to check on them to ensure they have enough food, water, and supplies to wait out the storm.
  6. Prevent pipe freeze: to keep your pipes from freezing over, make sure to leave taps slightly open so they drip continuously.  If your pipes do freeze, try warming them with air from an electric hair dryer (be careful with this, too)!
  7. Avoid travel: has many face flight delays due to storms in Chicago, it’s easy to see why winter travel is so precarious.  Even if you’re just driving around in your car, make sure that you dress warmly, stock a winter weather survival kit (e.g. water, matches, flashlights, chains, emergency flares), and carry extra warm gear like sleeping bags and blankets.

Although the winter can be brutal, we can stay safe and warm by following the CDC’s advice until it warms up outside once again.  Happy New Year!

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