By Olivia Wyles, American Red Cross volunteer
December 21, 2020- Within the last few weeks, Northern Ohio has turned into a land of white amidst the first snowfalls of the season. As I write this, white powder lines the tree branches and there’s snow on the ground as far as the eye can see. It’s really quite enchanting. However, it’s not so enchanting when the roads are icy, your pipes are freezing and your pets are chilled if left outside too long.
Winter storms are a real danger for many, but there are certain steps you can take to be “Red Cross Ready.” For example, stay involved with your community’s risk and response plans, and consider creating one for your own household. If your heater stops working or your house floods from melting snow, where can you go for help? Whether a family member or nearby friend, these are good things to keep in mind in case of an emergency.
Another area to improve your winter preparedness is related to vehicle precautions. Have your vehicle “winterized” to decrease your chances of being stuck on the road in cold weather.
“Winterizing” your car can mean a variety of things such as:
- Having your heater and battery checked
- Making sure your brakes are working correctly
- Checking your tires to ensure they have an adequate tread to combat icy roads
- Having blankets, gloves, hats, some spare food and any other supplies in your vehicle in case you happen to be stranded on a very cold day to keep you warm and comfortable while waiting for assistance
- Use a windshield scraper and small broom to make sure that you are driving with full vision
There are several precautions you can take to protect your home during the winter. First, make sure that your home heating sources are operating correctly and refrain from putting off that call to your heating service if you suspect any issues arising.
In addition, make sure that your home is properly insulated so that all that heat you’re pumping in stays inside where it’s supposed to be. Lastly, as a backup to any heating problems you may encounter, consider purchasing emergency heating equipment such as an electric heater or wood-burning stove.
Although this list is nowhere near complete, these precautions will be a good start to making sure that your family, vehicles and home are prepared to brave yet another Ohio winter.
And before you know it, that winter ice will be melting and spring will commence!
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer