The leaves are falling and the birds have flown south; natures’ subtle way of letting us know that another harsh winter is quickly approaching. Being prepared for the challenges of an unpredictable winter will help keep your family safe, secure, and warm. Making sure your home is safe and ready is a good place to begin winter preparations. Having adequate insulation in the attic of your home is essential; keeping the house warmer helps to not over work the heating system. A home heating system of any type can become dangerous when it is repeatedly overworked and especially as it becomes outdated. An average of 50,100 heating fires occur in homes in the United States each year, resulting in an average of approximately 150 deaths, 575 injuries, and $326 million in property loss. Being prepared can help keep your family safe; don’t become a statistic.
Fireplaces are especially dangerous if they haven’t been properly maintained. Proper service is essential and inexpensive. It is very important to allow sufficient air exchange when heating the house, especially if gas or fireplace heat is used. When gas/wood is burned, it creates many dangerous byproducts. Carbon Monoxide is an odorless gas byproduct that, if not vented properly, can be deadly to your family. CO poisoning is a serious medical emergency. If left undetected and untreated, it can cause coma and death. Protecting your family with a smoke detector is essential. There should be one outside each bedroom as well as inside each bedroom. If your heating system operates on open flame, it is essential to have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of the house.
The electrical power can go out at any time and leave you and your family in the cold and dark. Staying warm and safe can become a difficult task to accomplish during winter. It is a good idea to keep plenty of prepackaged emergency blankets and a survival kit specifically designed for winter. An emergency heat source can be essential; you can find LP/Propane portable heaters of several types and manufacturers.
A severe winter storm, as we all know, can be devastating, leaving your family stranded at home or even worse, stuck, scared, and alone in your car. Survival can depend on whatever preparations you have made to protect you and your family. Always be prepared, especially when the conditions outside are inhospitable to human survival. Keep enough food and water, dry clothes, and personal essentials on hand to be able to stay put for an extended period of time, perhaps a week. Keeping fresh food in your car or home when the power is out isn’t practical or safe. Protein bars, granola, freeze-dried survival food packages can be perfect alternatives. Keep one to two gallons of water for each person, survival emergency blankets, road flares, flashlights, and at least one dry change of clothes for everyone in the car.
You never know when an injury is going to take place, so keep a first aid kit close at hand. To help you find the right first aid kits, FreeFirstAid.com offers great deals from a wide variety of first aid suppliers, depending on your specific needs. It pays to be ready, and doesn’t your family deserve it? Preparation is the common sense approach that can make the difference in an emergency!
Article provided by A. Lawson, CCTRP- Emergency Services Paramedic