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Winter Weather Preparedness

January 31, 2011
Heavy snow and freezing conditions can make leaving the house difficult or impossible.  And the negative effect these sometimes brutal weather conditions make for our senior citizens and special needs populations can actually be life threatening.  It is important to be prepared. The Palatine Emergency Management Agency provides the following advice.

When forced to shelter in place due to severe weather it is an especially good idea to have kept additional canned goods and dry foodstuffs in the pantry. Firewood, dry and seasoned, can be a life saver if electrical power is lost and a fireplace or wood burning stove becomes the primary source of heat. Think ahead to caulk windows, weather strip doorways and in older homes, insulate piping.
Items to consider:
  • Get extra juice and small water bottles into the pantry along with extra dry goods
  • Keep additional batteries for radios and TV’s handy, to be used during outages if power lines are down from icing or high winds
  • Keep cell phones fully charged and insure that spare batteries are ready too
  • Insure that fire extinguishers are both charged and near by; especially if using alternative heating sources
  • On very cold days, allow the faucet to drip slowly to mitigate the potential for pipes freezing and bursting.
  • Have salt on hand to keep entrances to the home as safe and clear as possible
  • If you have a fire place, store extra firewood
Automobiles need looking after in winter conditions as well. Antifreeze should be added to the radiator, batteries should be checked and replaced as needed and the vehicles heater should be checked to insure proper working condition.
Items to consider:
  • Keep a warm blanket, dry socks and spare gloves in the trunk
  • Have your mechanic look at the cars tires and battery/charging system
  • Exhaust systems that leak carbon monoxide can be deadly in a running car stuck in snow or idling for long periods
  • Always try to keep a half tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times
  • Hazard lights in good working condition not only make you visible to other vehicles they draw attention when help is needed.
  • An ice scrapper, a flashlight and battery jumper cables should always find a place in your winter-ready vehicle.
Leaving the house or getting out of the car in those wintry temperatures? Dress appropriately. Layer your clothing with warm loose fitting items. Cover your head and your hands and when it is extremely cold, protect your lungs from frigid air by covering your mouth with a scarf. Do all possible to keep your feet warm and dry. And be certain to watch for changes in footway conditions.
Items to consider:
  • Wear a wind breaker under your coat on particularly cold or wet days
  • Cover exposed skin to prevent frostbite
  • Consume warm liquids (not hot) and be aware of dehydration. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • If your going out for an extended period, don’t forget sun screen. Sun screen will moisturize your skin and provide UV protection against reflective glare
  • When walking on ice, shorten your stride, slow your gait and be deliberate about where you are placing your feet. Always presume that there is ice under the snow.
  • Cars approaching traffic signals and crosswalks may not have the ability to stop. Stay alert for vehicles that have lost traction and are sliding        


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