By N. Ferrell

Tips For Staying Safe in Cold Weather

Thursday, December 19, 2013

For most of us AV residents, we don't have to worry about the cold weather and usually feel the suffering in the summer heat. But that is no reason to forget that the winter can be just as dangerous. Often we find that our pipes have frozen over, our electronic devices suffer and the insides of our homes need some extra attention. Here are a few things to look out for as winter takes over and chills us.

Household

  • Keep all paper, clothes, and anything somewhat flammable at least 3 feet away from any heat sources (furnace, fire place, heaters) and electrical outlets.
  • When turning on your heater or furnace after the long year of not being used, you may smell something burning or see a light smoke emitting from your vents. This should wear off after some use; however, if the smoke is grey or black or if there is a rumbling sound from within, leave the house immediately and call 911 from a safer location.
  • Leave a faucet dripping to avoid frozen pipes, or wrap pipes.
  • Clean your fireplace.
  • To avoid using too much energy during this cold time, shut vents in rooms that aren't used as often, or at night when the whole house won't be used.
  • Putting a ceiling fan in reverse will help push heat down.

Pets

  • The best advice would be to keep pets indoors!
  • Put booties or shoes on outdoor pets.
  • Have a doggie house or a place for your animal to retreat to; supplying a heat pad isn't necessary but would help. You can also use straw or old pillows and blankets for insulation.
  • Be careful using rock salt to melt ice, as this can get into an animals paws. If ingested, they could become sick. Try using kitty litter or sand instead.
  • As with humans in the winter, hydration is very important. Be sure your animal has a plentiful supply.

Gadgets

  • Never leave them in your car!
  • Allow cold or frozen gadgets to thaw for a few hours before attempting to turn them on. Sometimes putting it into a bowl of rice will help reduce moisture damage during the thaw.
  • Keeping some products, such as laptops, continually running will help it from becoming too cold.
  • Run devices on a surge protector or have a spare battery handy. Batteries drain faster in colder weather.

Health

  • Moisturize and hydrate!
  • Bulk up on Vitamin E, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. This will help hydrate as well.
  • Keep heat in by wearing many layers instead of a few thicker ones. This creates air pockets and traps the heat in the many layers.
  • Be aware of how much you sweat. Often, sweat alone causes hypothermia because the moisture gets trapped.
  • Always cover your head, fingers, and toes. Make sure your toes are cozy by wearing proper shoes.
  • Careful when wearing a scarf, or covering your mouth because of the moisture.

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- Alex Branning