A series of winter storms recently wreaked havoc on the Pacific Northwest. With heavy rain, wind and snow forecasted for the rest of the country, people will likely encounter floods, tornadoes, avalanches and mudslides in the weeks ahead. Apart from adequate disaster preparation, extreme weather could threaten public safety for man and beast. At the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System, we care about your safety. So, we have prepared tips to help you manage winter weather.
How to Safely Manage Winter Weather
Whether you are at work, at home or in the doghouse when a winter storm hits, in extreme weather, it is often advisable to remain indoors.
Stay Warm but Be Safe
- The most recent report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) revealed that heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires in the United States and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for radiators, space heaters and wall units. Don’t ever leave a space heater unattended! Instead, only use space heaters that feature automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements.
- Turning on the stove for heat is ill-advised. Rely on blankets, warm clothing, sleeping bags and cuddly puppies for heat.
- Make sure fireplaces, wood stoves and combustible heaters are up to code. Keep fireplaces lit with wood or a gas log. Never burn newspaper in a fireplace.
- Check with your local fire department before using a kerosene lamp. Many regions have outlawed their use.
- Keep heat sources away from flammable materials such as curtains, furniture, linens and dog beds.
- Keep power cords out of walkways.
- Conserve heat in the event of interrupted electricity or gas service. Avoid unnecessarily opening windows or doors. Close off unnecessary rooms. Seal doors and windows with rags or towels.
If you are in transit when a severe winter storm hits, you may find yourself unable to seek shelter. If this occurs, follow these tips for outdoor storm safety:
- If you have not yet done so, assemble a Go-Bag to stow in the trunk of your car. If you live or work in a cold climate, make sure your kit includes plenty of winter weather gear such as a coat, mittens, hat, scarf.
- Do your best to stay dry. Wet clothing and damp fur lower body temperature.
- Remove extra layers of clothing as sweating causes the body to lose heat.
- Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Defined as abnormally low body temperature, hypothermia is a dangerous condition that can happen when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. The warning signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. In babies, signs include bright red, cold skin, and very low energy.
- Click here to read about signs of frostbite and hypothermia in pets.
- Understand how to identify frostbite. People who have poor blood circulation or who are not properly dressed for weather conditions are most at risk of frostbite. The signs include: a white or grayish tone to skin, waxy-feeling skin and numbness.
- If you suspect you or someone you are with is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite, seek immediate medical attention.
- If immediate medical care is unavailable, follow these recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
The best defense for winter weather is preparation. Here is how to prepare your vehicle for extreme conditions:
- Check the battery
- Top off fluids before heading out. (Coolant, Wiper fluid, Oil, etc.)
- Check your tires
- Store jumper cables
- Pack a blanket
- As referenced above, put together a winter-worthy Go-Bag. And don’t forget to include pet supplies in your kit!
About the AUS Fire Life Safety Training System
We care about your safety every day of the year, not just in winter weather. A convenient and affordable way to make sure high-rise occupants are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe. Our system has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.