Home Cold Weather Safety Tips

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Prepare

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide

  • Install and Maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your house.
  • Rreplace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseous. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible gas produces whenever any fuel is burned, such as near oil or gas furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, stoves and some space heaters. It has no smell, taste or color. It is a poision and is deadly.
  • If the smoke or carbon monoxide detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Carbon monoxide can result from snow-covered external vents. Major home appliances such as clothes dryer and furnance vent air and gases outside. Please make sure they are free of snow and debris.
  • Start your snow blower in a well-ventilated area to avoid possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Before running your car, make sure your tailpipe is clear of snow or debris

Heating

  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • NEVER use your oven for heat.
  • NEVER bring charcoal or gas grills indoors (they are a carbon monoxide hazard).
  • Liquid or gas-fired portable space heaters are illegal in Massachusetts.
  • Use electric space heaters with extreme care; avoid placing them near curtains or other flammable materials and turn them off before going to bed.
  • Make sure all portable heat-producing appliances are unplugged when not in use (irons, hair devices, etc.).
  • NEVER leave candles unattended.
  • Keep dryer vents clear of snow and ice.

Power Outages

  • In case of a power outage, stock up on batteries, flashlights, and canned goods.
  • If power is lost, unplug all appliances except one lamp to prevent power surge damage.
  • Keep refrigerators closed as much as possible and keep temperature at 45° or below. Food will stay fresh for between 36-48 hours in a full fridge; 24 hours in a half-filled one.
  • Keep a battery-operated radio, extra medicine, blankets, and bottled water on hand.

Pipes

  • Keep heat at adequate levels or leave faucets open with a slight drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Locate the main water shut off valve in your home and mark it for quick identification. Learn how to turn it off, and educate others in your household. If a water pipe bursts, shutting your home's main valve quickly will minimize flooding and property damage.
  • Leave kitchen cabinet doors open if pipes are subject to freezing. This will allow heat to reach the pipes.
  • Don't use an open flame to thaw pipes. If your pipes do freeze, use a hair dryer or rags soaked in hot water to thaw lines.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated spaces like garages, basements, and crawl spaces. This will help prevent frozen pipes, avoiding property damage and the costs of repairs. Additionally, insulating hot water pipes will decrease your wait time for warm water.
  • Protect your water meter from icy drafts and freezing temperatures. Most frozen meters are caused by drafts from an open basement door or window. Double check your property for drafts as the cold weather sets in. Seal openings in the basement foundation wall where cold air may enter. Stuff holes with insulation and fix broken window panes. A tiny opening may cause exposed pipe or the meter to freeze.

Snow Blower Safety

  • Always start your snow blower in a well-ventilated area to avoid possible carbon
    monoxide poisoning.
  • If you haven't used your snow blower in a while, remember that gasoline may still be inside from the last time you used it. Gasoline is only good for about 30 days, unless you've added a fuel stabilizer.
  • Always make sure that the snow blower is completely turned off before replacing any parts.
  • Fix clogs carefully. If your snow blower becomes clogged, turn it off, and remove the key before trying to clear it. Use a stick and NOT your hands to clear debris.
  • If your snow blower hasn't been checked up by a professional in a while, have it serviced before you use it.

Pedestrians

  • Keep slippery driveways and sidewalks well-shoveled. Apply material for traction such as rock salt to avoid slips and falls. Businesses and owners are responsible for shoveling.

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