Winter Home and Family Safety Tips

As we make our way through the heart of the winter season, the threat of extreme cold and snowfall is nowhere near over yet.  To ensure you stay prepared, here are some tips to get you through the tundra like temperatures!

Protect your pipes
Drain any remaining water from outdoor hoses and store them in a covered area. Doing this will extend their life and save you money. Make sure to cover outdoor faucet or hose bibs using an insulated cover. Additionally, be sure to insulate water pipes in crawl spaces or unheated areas of the house that might be  susceptible to the cold temperatures. If water inside your pipes freezes, it will expand and cause your pipes to crack and burst. Finally, be sure you know where your water shutoff valve is so that you can turn off the water in the event of a frozen pipe or an emergency.

Maintain heat in your home
As colder weather looms, be sure you have a plan in place for keeping your home warm. A little planning for colder situations can help you avoid big issues. If your plan calls for the use of a space heater to keep warm, please be sure that it is UL certified and at least 3 feet away from anything that can ignite. For HVAC systems, set your thermostat a few degrees warmer than normal prior to the extreme weather and keep it there. If your thermostat is programmable, set it to ‘HOLD’ to prevent it from setting back at night. Maintaining the temperature of your home will help make sure all of the systems keep working and the people stay safe and cozy.

Plan ahead
Being prepared before a winter storm will also help you stay safe outdoors. Dressing in layers of clothing to stay warm, as well as wearing hats, scarves and mittens will help to cover any exposed skin to the threat of frostbite or hypothermia. Salt any areas outside ahead of time to avoid dangerous ice from covering sidewalks and driveways. Keep a spare blanket, jacket, hat and gloves in your vehicle in the event you become stranded while traveling and make sure that your electronics are fully charged to contact emergency personnel.

Outdoor Cord Connections
If you have any outdoor extension cord connections, make sure they are in an out of the way position to avoid tripping hazards - especially once they are covered with snow. Additionally, it is best practice to keep any outdoor extension cord connections securely protected from rain, snow and ice.  

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