Safe Winter Weather Tips

We’re used to winter weather around these parts, of course.

Still, it’s always good to remind ourselves to be safe when travelling, and around the home, when the snow starts to fly hard and heavy. Here are some tips:

If you decide to run a gas-powered generator in the event of a power outage, remember to keep it outside and well away from any fresh air intakes to the residence. Never run a generator indoors, and if it must be near a door or window, have the exhaust aimed away from the residence, and preferably downwind.

Stay away from downed utility lines, even if you don’t see evidence that they’re electrified. Contact your utility, or, in an emergency, dial 911 to report the incident.

If local power is out and a traffic signal is completely extinguished, remember: it becomes an automatic four-way stop! All motorists should act as if there are stop signs in each direction from the intersection. Use safe speed and drive defensively, in order to avoid meeting your neighbors “by accident.”

If you have a high-efficiency furnace, remember to keep the exhaust vents on the outside of the house unblocked by snow or other debris. Failure to do this can lead to a hazardous buildup of carbon monoxide indoors.

Make sure you have fresh carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke detector batteries. If your alarm sounds, and no one in the residence has any symptoms of CO poisoning (to include dizziness or light-headed feelings, nausea, lethargy, or headaches) keep the windows closed, exit the residence (perhaps staying in your car outside to stay warm), and call 911. Your local fire department will be happy to investigate for the presence and source of carbon monoxide.

If your alarm sounds, and people in the house DO present with symptoms of poisoning, get them to fresh air immediately, including opening windows if necessary.

If you hear a rushing, jet-engine type sound in your chimney, and spectacular flames are ejecting from the top, there’s a good bet you have a chimney fire. That’s a good time to use a dry-chemical extinguisher at the base of the fire, and to call 911! To avoid this scenario, be sure to have your chimney professionally cleaned, and inspected, periodically.

Have a safe winter, and remember: if you need us, we’ll be there.

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