Watch out for winter

Tommy Callaghan

After last year, northwest Indiana should be considered veterans when it comes to winter storms, but this year, even more are expected. It is extremely important to be aware and prepared for the hazards that could strike this year.

To keep homes safe this winter, it is important to ‘winterize’ your home. While there is still time, it is important to install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows; insulate water lines that run along exterior walls, and clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.

All these steps are very important but there are also a couple of simpler, less expensive tricks that can be extremely effective. These tricks are not just for your home, but your car too.

One, keep faucets running if anyone is to leave the house. The pipes can become very, very cold, even frozen, during extreme temperatures in the winter. By keeping a small stream of hot water going from a couple faucets in the house, the pipes will remain running, with no risk of pipes expanding and then leaking.

Second, keep cars prepared at all times. Unfortunately, heavy snow storms can leave car accidents in their wake, not just snow days. Because it can get so cold it is important to keep materials in the car, just in case something is to happen. If a car stalls while you are in it you need supplies that may just save your life. Always try to keep extra blankets, food and water, a bag of cat litter (for traction, not cat feces), a map, flashlights with extra batteries, and last but not least, a first-aid kit.
During winter storms avoid driving as much as possible. Driving during whiteouts can cause accidents, and some accidents could prove fatal.

When driving be cautious by taking preventative actions by conserving fuel, not using too much heat, and telling others where the trip is to.

While everyone wants to be safe if they get trapped in a car during the storm or their home is falling victim to winter, keeping warm is the most important thing during cold weather. During severe storms, which will not be uncommon, homes’ heat is knocked out without anyone noticing. So, by the time anyone notices how much heat has been lost, it is too late, and people inside the house are in real danger.

While some tips may seem obvious, every piece of information is very important to stay healthy and safe this season. It is important to stay inside during storms, walk carefully on sidewalks or any other type of walkway, and keeping dry.

Winters can be scary, but they can also be “the most wonderful time of the year” and if everyone is careful this winter, everything will be a breeze.

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