As much as many of us enjoy winter, it is not all about skating, sledding, and romantic walks in the snow. Along with the many enjoyable recreational activities comes the potential for injury from exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, slip and falls, or even heart attacks. Merriam Insurance reminds you of the importance of home safety, to think about winter preparedness, and to put plans in place before winter actually arrives.
- Stay indoors. Whenever possible, staying inside during a storm is generally the best decision.
- Watch your step. If you must go out, walk carefully. Running on snowy or icy walkways seldom ends well.
- Practice safe shoveling. Avoid overexertion while clearing snow and ice and always:
- Warm-up beforehand. Stretch your arms, legs and back to help prevent injury and fatigue.
- Dress appropriately. Wearing breathable layers that can be peeled off one or more layers at a time will help prevent getting overheated. Additionally, wearing insulated waterproof boots with good traction will help to keep your feet warm and dry, and may help prevent slip and falls.
- Avoid overexertion. Moving smaller amounts of snow by pushing or scooping will help avoid back and other injuries.
- Stay ahead of the storm. Clearing the snow every few inches rather than waiting for the snow to stop falling makes for a much easier job.
- Stay hydrated. Keep a full water bottle nearby and take frequent breaks to rehydrate.
- Avoid taking shortcuts. Shortcuts are a good idea if you are in a hurry but may be a bad idea if there is snow and ice on the ground.
- Take your time. Take smaller steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction.
- Enter Sandman. While sand won’t melt ice, sprinkling sand over packed snow and ice will provide excellent traction, especially on surfaces where your vehicle has packed the snow down.
- Watch for signs of frostbite. If you experience loss of feeling, and white or pale appearance in extremities, get medical attention immediately.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia. If you experience uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness or apparent exhaustion get medical attention immediately.
- Watch for signs of heart attack. Stop immediately if you have any pain in your arm or chest areas. If the pain does not subside in a very short period of time, do not assume you have pulled a muscle. Call 911 and get help!
- Avoid the risk of ice buildup. Clean out your home’s gutters, disconnect and drain all outside hoses, and shut off all outside water valves.
- Inspect your roof. Hire a contractor to check your roof for leaks and to verify if it would sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.
- Prevent the risk of fire. If you have a fireplace in your home, make sure to have it inspected and cleaned every autumn and remember to keep the flue closed when not in use.
- Avoid frozen pipes. If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system. Open cabinets and let faucets drip.
- Avoid ice dams. Water from melted snow refreezes in the gutters and seeps in under the roof, soaking interior walls. Here’s how:
- Ventilate your attic.
- Insulate the attic floor to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
- Consider having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof covering, and ensure proper attic insulation and flashing.
Merriam Insurance recommends you follow these tips to stay safe this winter season. Contact us today to learn more.
Winter Weather Home and Personal Safety Tips
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