Tips for Staying Safe and Warm During the Polar Vortex
The arctic freeze that has descended on the U.S has left much of the country in negative double digit temperatures, buried beneath several feet of snow. The northeastern and mid-western regions of the U.S have been hit especially hard. While winter weather requires preparation and caution, the severe winter storms and dangerously cold temperatures have necessitated more cold weather preparation. This preparation involves being prepared both in transit and at home. Staying out of the cold as much as possible is the best solution, but this is largely unavoidable at times. Here are some tips for keeping warm and staying safe during the icy cold outside.
Keep an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Emergency preparedness kits are great to have at home and in your vehicle. Keeping essential items on hand in the event of a problem is a good idea year round, but during the harsh weather and biting cold of winter it is especially important. At home, this means keeping emergency essentials like extra warm clothing, extra food and water, flashlights, lanterns, batteries, first aid kits, and extra heaters. In you vehicle, you should keep many of the same items. In the event your car breaks down or you become stranded, you want to be prepared to survive in your vehicle until you can get help.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Besides remaining mobile during an emergency situation, keeping your vehicle maintained is essential for safety on the road–especially during a storm. If your car fails you during the cold, you could be in trouble. Although becoming stranded as a result of the road conditions is possible, a mechanical breakdown can be worse–particularly if you are in an isolated area. As good measure, keep emergency essentials in your vehicle and always try and keep your gas tank at half a tank to three fourths full. Running out of gas during the deadly cold and snow of the recent winter weather is unacceptable when you think about all of the potential problems that can occur over which you have no control. Maintaining your vehicle and preparing yourself while on the road is the number one thing you can do in anticipation of inclement conditions.
Take Care with Secondary Heating Devices
Electric heating devices like space heaters are often a necessity in the extreme cold, but these devices are also hazardous. Each winter there are many fires caused by these heating devices–all of which are preventable. Keep heaters away from clothing, fabric, paper, and any other flammable items around the house. Also, avoid leaving the heaters unattended for long stretches and never leave the house without turning them off and unplugging them. You should also take caution with electrical outlets when using these devices as they can easily be overloaded. What’s more, always inspect the cords on the heater for abrasions or damage as this can blow a circuit and cause power outages–the last thing you want in the polar vortex.