It's time to bundle up! Winter is here in the Capital Region.
Winter should come as no surprise, but each year many people get that "I'm not ready for this" feeling. We want to help you be as ready as you can with making sure you are keeping your home, health, and sanity intact by following some preventative measures now.
Winterize Yourself to Stay Fit and Healthy
While the winter season might increase the risk for weather-related injury, the biggest risk to your overall health is the lack of attention to diet and physical activity. The unpleasant weather can make it very difficult to find the motivation to get to the gym or head outdoors for a workout. No desire to exercise outdoors? Never fear. There are plenty of resources online that supply fun workout videos and exercises. By maintaining a proper diet and getting regular physical activity, you are one step closer to warding off illness in the winter.
If you're someone who loves the outdoors and all the activities that come with winter like sledding, snowmobiling, or skiing, it's important you take the extra step in planning on what to wear to prevent any health and safety issues. Be sure to wear weather appropriate clothing like a tightly woven, wind-resistant jacket, inner layers of light, warm clothing, mittens, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots. When participating in the winter fun, remember to pack an emergency kit and always take a buddy or go in a group, never go by yourself in case the unpredictable happens!
Always be ready to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards like young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. Keep your pets indoors, and if you can't, provide them with adequate warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.
Getting Your Home Winter Ready
Winterizing your home is the best way to get your home through the cold winter season. Some ways to do this is by installing weather stripping, insulation and storm windows, insulating water lines that run along your exterior walls, and making sure your gutters are clean and roof leaks are repaired.
After spending an entire day being outside in the cold, there's nothing better than opening your front door to a cozy, warm house. Imagine walking into an ice box of a house? That’s no fun. Make sure your heating system is working and ready to warm up you and your home. If you had trouble with heat in the past, have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure everything is working properly, clean, and ventilated to the outside. If you're a little more traditional with your heating system, be sure to inspect your fireplaces and chimneys too.
With heating comes gas and possible fires or poisoning. A combination of smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms makes it easy to provide both types of protection throughout the home. If you don't have a working smoke detector or CO detector, now's the time to install both. Ideally, you should be installing detectors on each level of your home or on any level with fuel burning applications and outside of bedrooms. Another way to avoid any safety hazards is storing all grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement, and garage.
Don't forget to get yourself ready for any weather-related emergencies like power outages! Be sure your pantry is stocked with all your favorite food and water. Along with stocking up the house, it's important to keep an up-to-date emergency kit in your home with battery-operated devices, extra batteries, first-aid kit, baby items, and salt for icy walkways.
Winterize Your Car
It’s no secret that winter’s cold temps and unpredictable conditions can cause damage to your car. No one wants to deal with your car not starting, frozen doors and windows, engine freeze-ups and accidents. To make sure your car is ready for the worst that Jack Frost has to offer, follow along to ensure you and your car are prepared for winter. First, start the season with a fresh oil change and continue to change it at recommended intervals. Second, give your car battery a little TLC. Cold starts are hard enough without a weak battery or cable corrosion to deal with so make sure to have your battery and cables checked and cleaned. Next, good visibility is key to safe driving in snowy or rainy weather conditions. Don’t be that person who waits until that major snowstorm hits to find out your wiper blades don't work or there’s no windshield washer fluid left. As you know, it's already dangerous enough driving in snow and rain-slicked roads – don’t let worn tires make it even worse. Check your tire pressure and tire tread regularly throughout the season and, if necessary, replace them with all-weather tires or snow tires. In case you ever get stranded in the middle of winter, you'll be happy you packed your car with a winter emergency kit including a portable charger, batteries, blankets, food and water, booster cables, flares, tire pump, a bag of salt for traction, compass and maps, flashlight, battery-powered radio, first-aid kit, and garbage bags.
Planning Your Travel
You always need to be safe when traveling, especially so during winter months. Don't ever travel when the weather service has issued advisories. If you absolutely must travel, inform a friend of your route and estimated time of arrival. During your journey, if the worst happens and you get stranded in your car, make sure you are visible to rescuers, move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area, keep your body warm, stay awake and moving, and run the motor and heater for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let in air.
No one can stop the onset of winter but planning and preparing can make a big difference in the safety and health of you and your family. Winter can bring extreme coldness, freezing rain, ice, snow, and even high winds. We made this mini guide in hopes to help you properly prepare for winter and know how to stay safe throughout the rest of the season.