Wow, it is 2015 already! I do not know about you but time sure does go fast the older I get. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. We are a couple of weeks into the New Year and I, like everyone else, am in full swing at work with a lot of task ahead and no end in sight. Between work and my two boys sporting activities we are a family on the go. I encourage you to take some time and follow the ten steps below on how to stay safe during our cold winter months.
1. Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
2. Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
3. Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
4. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
5. Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
6. Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
7. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
8. Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
9. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
10. Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage. Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
Most of these items are common sense steps and are easy to do. Take some time to make a safety plan for you and your family and if you follow these steps you will have a much more pleasant and safe winter. Also, I encourage you to download our “free” apps on your smart phone by going to the app store. We have anything from a first aid app to a tornado app, you can go to www.redcross.org to find out more information or better yet stop by our chapter office to find out more details. Thanks for what you do and have a GREAT Day!