Staying safe in freezing weather
Freezing weather can be extremely dangerous. Cold weather is usually associated with winter storms. Besides cold temperatures, we need to deal with power failures, loss of communication services and icy roads – all detrimental to our safety.
When an emergency like hypothermia happens, getting the proper service is just that much more difficult in winter conditions.
It is best to stay inside during winter.
Prepare your home
- Winterising your home can keep you safe, warm and healthy. According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, you should install weather stripping, insulation and storm windows.
- Insulate water lines along exterior walls, and clean your gutters while repairing roof leaks.
- Test your heating systems. Service them professionally and make sure it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside. Inspect your fireplace and chimney. Clean them too. Safe alternate heating sources and alternate fuels should be available.
- Install a smoke detector. Test its batteries every month.
- A carbon monoxide (CO) detector can prevent CO poisoning emergencies. It alerts you of deadly, odourless and colourless gas. When you change your clocks’ batteries, check your CO detector battery as well. The symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
Prepare your vehicle
- Before winter arrives, service your radiator and maintain the antifreeze level.
- Check your tyre’s tread. If necessary, replace your tyres with all-weather or snow tyres.
- Your gas tank must remain full. It will avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Prepare a winter emergency kit – cellphone, portable charger, extra batteries, warm clothing, blankets, food and water. Also, include booster cables, flares, tyre pump and a bag of sand or cat litter. The bag of sand or cat litter is helpful for traction. A winter emergency kit can have a compass, maps, flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit and plastic bags.
Keep a water supply.
- Your water pipes can freeze in extreme cold. They sometimes rupture or break under freezing conditions. If you are expecting freezing temperatures, leave all taps slightly open. It allows them to drip continuously.
- Keep your home temperature warm. The heated air must reach pipes—open cabinet doors beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- If your pipes freeze, thaw them with warm air from an electric hairdryer. Bottled water or water from a neighbour can also thaw frozen pipes.
- In a case of emergency and lack of water, melt snow. Bring the snow water to a boil for a minute to kill most of the germs. It won’t remove chemicals sometimes found in the snow.
Stay dry and dress warmly.
- Warm clothes for adults and children consist of a hat, scarf or knitted mask, long-sleeved tops, mittens, water-resistant coats and boots, as well as loose-fitting clothing.
- It is essential to layer up. You can wear an inner layer of fabrics that hold body heat and don’t absorb moisture. Wool, silk or polypropylene holds more heat than cotton. The insulation layer retains heat by trapping air close to your body. Natural fibres work best. The outer layer protects you from the wind and rain. It should be tightly woven, as well as water and wind-resistant. The resistance reduces the loss of body heat.
- Stay dry. Wet clothing chills the body quickly.
- Do not ignore shivering. That is the first sign that you are losing heat. It also means that you should go inside.
Wear layers of clothing that can be removed or added as temperatures change, with the outermost being waterproof, says Simplified Safety.
Keep a dry change of clothes in your car or the change room.
Waterproof boots and gloves keep our extremities dry and warm. These are more susceptible to frostbite than other parts of the body.
Working in extreme cold
Ensure You are Wearing the Proper Clothing
Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean we can take off from work. This is especially true for people who work outside – in construction or on various plants.
Wear proper insulation under your hardhat. If it is too bulky, is shaped funny, or slides easily off your head could all affect how the hardhat protects you.
Always let your friends and family know where you are, especially if you go hiking, camping or skiing. Check on your family and neighbours, especially if they have young children, older adults and the chronically ill. They are especially at risk from cold weather hazards.
If you are unable to bring your pets inside, provide warm shelter and unfrozen water for them. The onset of winter is unstoppable. Following the above suggestion can help you feel ready.
Stay connected and protected!
Time and accuracy are the most critical factors in an emergency and distinguish between good and bad outcomes.
It is imperative to have a plan for when anything goes wrong; iER is that safety net.
Because you have the iER app on your phone, you will always be connected. The app contains unique built-in alerts and GPS tracking functionality! That means that the emergency services can locate you with ease, ensuring a swift, hassle-free rescue.
iER offers members three different plan options.
It is Standard that everyone gets full and unrestricted access to the service providers on the network, as the iER App is free on all devices and networks. Suppose you want to upgrade to a package that allows you access to utilise iER’s total cover. In that case, there is a Premium Plan and a Premium Plan Plus that offer loads of extras for post-emergency protocol for a nominal fee.