Winter Weather Safety

Late last week the City of Woodburn issued a weather advisory e-blast to its community.  Although the anticipated snow in the valley floor has passed, we could still experience a nasty spell of wintery weather, with temps below freezing and a bit of snow/ice in the area.  Please take a moment to read through these tips for your home and travel.

Winter Weather Safety Checklist

If possible, wait for temperatures to rise before heading out, but if the need arises to out in the freezing temperatures, be sure to protect your ears, face, hands and feet from the cold weather. Adults and children should wear:

  • A hat
  • A scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
  • Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
  • Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
  • Water-resistant coat
  • Waterproof and insulated boots or shoes

Be sure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. As the speed of the wind increases, it can carry heat away from your body much more quickly. When there are high winds, serious weather-related health problems are more likely, even when temperatures are only cool.

Stay dry. Wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm.

Move into warm locations periodically. Limit the amount of time outside on extremely cold days.

Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless poison gas. Many household items, including gas and oil burning furnaces, portable generators, and charcoal grills produce this poison gas.  Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.  Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness and death.  If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, seek fresh air and consult a health care professional right away.

The only way to know if you are being exposed to carbon monoxide is by using a detector. Learn more about how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Additional Tips for at Home

If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector, or find one in the yellow pages of your telephone directory under “chimney cleaning.” Also, if you’ll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly, and replace batteries twice a year.

Your ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age, and older people are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. If you are over 65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently, and check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.

Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze. To the extent possible, weatherproof your home by adding weather-stripping, insulation, insulated doors and storm windows, or thermal-pane windows.

If you have pets, bring them indoors. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure that they have access to unfrozen water.

In the event of a power outage, have flashlights, batteries and candles on hand. Have your pantry stocked in the event you’re isolated at home for a few days. Plan for 72 hours worth of provisions to ensure you’re prepared to handle potential weather related issues.

Winterize Your Vehicle

You can avoid many dangerous winter travel problems by planning ahead. Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends.

Car Safety Checklist

Keep your car fueled and in good working order. Be sure to check the following:

  • Traction Devices
  • De-icer and ice scraper
  • Blankets
  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield wiper fluid (wintertime mixture)
  • Heater
  • Brakes
  • Ignition
  • Emergency flashers
  • Exhaust
  • Tires (air pressure and wear)
  • Fuel
  • Oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Defroster
  • Battery
  • Radiator

Remember to keep your gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

Special thanks to the City of Woodburn staff for putting together these valuable reminders.  Winter weather can be lots of fun especially when we take time to prepare and to be safe!