Falling temperatures have prompted Thomas Nelson safety officials to offer some cold weather survival recommendations. They advise that taking a few simple precauations can be life saving.
Personal and family member safety
- Make sure that all family members have extra blankets and heavy clothes.
- In addition to donning hats and gloves when outside, wearing several layers of loose-fitting clothing is suggested.
- Stay vigilant in routinely checking on elderly, disabled and young loved ones, who may be vulnerable to the cold.
Around the home
- Have emergency supplies of food, water, first aid and batteries available.
- Have cash on hand.
- Check extra heat sources such as space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces to ensure that they are in proper working order and are not emitting carbon monoxide.
- Purchase and use carbon monoxide detectors.
- Avoid hazards. Outdoor heaters that burn fuel should not be used indoors or in poorly- ventilated places.
- Keep a thin stream of water flowing from faucets to help prevent water pipes from freezing. Pipe insulation also is helpful.
- Equip vehicles with a winter survival kit to include blankets, flashlight, extra batteries, brightly colored cloth, sand or a bag of cat litter, shovel, candles and matches, nonperishable high-calorie foods, (nuts, raisins, and candy bars), newspapers (for insulation), a first aid kit and jumper cables.
- Check tires. Make sure they are properly inflated and the tread is in good condition.
- Always keep the gas tank full when driving in cold weather.
- Make sure brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater and exhaust system are in top condition.
- Check antifreeze. A special solvent to may be added to windshield washer reservoir to prevent ice from forming.
- Check the weather forecast and let someone know route of travel before heading out.
Driving in icy or wet conditions
- Decrease speed and leave plenty of room to stop. Allow at least three times more space than usual between the vehicle in front.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If wheels start to lock up, ease off of the brake.
- Turn on lights to increase visibility to other motorists.
- Keep headlights and windshields clean.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, there may be ice formed in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
- Don't pass sanding trucks and snow plows. The drivers have limited visibility, and the road in front of them may be worse than the road behind.
In the event of becoming stranded while driving
- Do not leave your car; it is your best protection. Do not panic, an idling car only uses one gallon of gas per hour.
- Roll down a window for a very small amount for fresh air.
- Make sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Leave your dome light on at night.