Winter Weather Safety Tips

Prepare your vehicle. Not just the bag of kitty litter and an ice scraper, but two blankets (wool, if possible), a candy bar in the glove compartment, a good flashlight, and, most importantly, keep the gas tank at least half full all of the time.

Never run the car if you are stranded in a snow bank with the windows closed or when in snow over the exhaust.

Put fashion on the back burner and dress for the weather. Boots, heavy socks, a hat, scarf and heavy coat. Don't forget the gloves or, better yet, mittens. Mittens allow the fingers to move easier and keep each other warm.

Metal transfers cold quickly. If you have pierced ears or other body piercings, keep them covered up when the wind chill goes below freezing. Frostbite hits over one million Americans each year. Pierced ears are the biggest source.

Space heaters are high on the list for causes of winter fires. Fires can occur if the wiring is not enough to support the heater, combustibles are too close to heaters, or if the heater gets tipped over. Contaminated fuel has claimed many lives in Ohio and nationwide. The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety does not recommend the use of any fuel-fired space heaters. Charcoal and fuel-fired heaters always pose a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. All housing with any gas-fired appliances should have a carbon monoxide detector. This department uses Nighthawk detectors with LED readouts in campus residence housing. If you have any questions concerning smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, please contact us.

The holiday season often places individuals in high risk situations. Candles lead to at least two serious fires in every fire district throughout Ohio each year. Never leave any open flame devices unattended. If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure it is watered often and discard when the needles start to shed. Do not run extension cords under rugs or across the floor in travel areas. Check your cords and lights to make sure that they are not frayed or damaged. All facilities, especially housing, should have functional fire extinguishers. You should have at least one extinguisher per level of the house. The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety recommends one in the kitchen, one in the basement or laundry area, and one in any other level, including attic storage areas. They should be located close to, but on the escape travel route from, any major hazard such as the stove or dryer.

Winter weather can be beautiful and fun. Practice good safety rules and enjoy the sports of the season!