Walk Like a Penguin and Other Winter Safety Tips
Winter storms and cold temperatures can be dangerous, so be prepared! Here are seven steps to stay safe in cold weather:
- Listen to the weather forecast and pay attention to the wind chill.
- Plan ahead.
- Dress warmly.
- Seek shelter.
- Stay dry.
- Keep active.
- Be aware.
Prepare your home by winterizing (install weather insulation, insulate water lines that run along exterior walls and repair roof leaks), checking heating systems (have your system serviced, clean fireplaces and chimneys and have a safe alternative heating source available), check your smoke detector(s) and prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning emergencies (install one or more CO detectors, check the batteries with each time change and learn the symptoms of CO poisoning including headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion).
Prepare your vehicle by servicing radiator, maintaining antifreeze level, checking tire tread, keeping gas tank full, using wintertime windshield liquid and maintaining a winter emergency kit in case you get stranded.
Your winter emergency kit should include: charged cell phone with portable charger, flashlight, radio, extra batteries, booster cables, flares, tire pump, sand or cat litter (for traction), plastic bags, first aid kit, compass and maps, food and water, extra clothes including hats, coats, mittens, blankets and sleeping bags.
Prepare for winter emergencies by stocking food that does not need cooking or refrigeration, water stored in clean containers, baby items, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Radio with extra batteries and extra medicine.
Take precautions outdoors including wearing appropriate clothing. Winter clothing should include a wind resistant coat or jacket, inner layers of light clothing, mittens, hats, scarves and waterproof boots. Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches of steps or pavement, work slowly when doing outdoor chores and take a buddy and an emergency kit when participating in outdoor recreation.
Avoid travel when the National Weather Service has issued advisories. If you must travel, inform a family member or friend of your route and arrival time.
Above all, take your time in icy conditions and walk like a penguin. Slightly bend your back, point your feet outward, take small steps and stay flat footed.
Reference: Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC).
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