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Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

Just as frigid outdoor temperatures necessitate we wear appropriate clothing, to regulate our internal body temperatures, flurrying snows, which coat our highways and create perilous driving conditions, similarly require us to take necessary safeguarding precautions.
And while winter conditions puzzle few in snow-prone regions—such as the Midwest, the upper East and West coasts, and mountainous areas—besides the occasional uninformed tourist, preparing an early defense can help you stay safe while enjoying your favorite outdoor activities, and prepared for even the direst of winter conditions, like a blizzard or a power outage.
At MVP Staffing, we care about our clients, the businesses we work with and the workforce professionals we help place into positions. We pride ourselves in our commitment to fostering long-term relationships with our clients and, in keeping with this tradition, being dependably helpful to our customers. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking several precautionary steps to winterize both your home and frame of mind, which we’ve included below. As we approach winter, follow this checklist for preparing you and your family.

Step 1: Winterize the Homestead

Are you one of the many people who prefer to remain indoors during the winter? Unfortunately, staying inside doesn’t guarantee safety. You can keep your home safe and warm during the winter months by taking the following precautionary steps.
  • Step 1: Prepare your home for winter by:
    • Installing weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulating water lines that run along your house’s exterior walls.
    • Cleaning out the gutters and repairing roof leaks.
  • Step 2: Check your heating systems by:
    • Having your heating system professionally serviced to ensure it’s operational, clean, and appropriately ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspecting and cleaning fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Installing a smoke detector. You should test its batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
    • Having a safe alternate heating source (such as a pellet stove) and alternate fuels available.
    • Preventing carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies by:
      • Installing a CO detector that indicates and alerts you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check the batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
      • Learning the symptoms of CO poisoning, which include: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
  • Sprinkling cat litter or sand on icy patches when snow and ice emerges to help prevent a potential fall.

Step 2: Winterize Your Wear & for Outdoor Activities & Plan Ahead for Safe Travels

With changing seasons, winter months quickly introduce perils we sometimes aren’t ready for. Outdoor activities, in particular, can expose you to several safety hazards. Don’t let your personal health become threatened this winter! You can keep yourself healthy and happy this season by taking these proactive steps.
  • Step 1: To stay warm and ensure you keep your body temperature at a healthy level, make sure to winterize your wardrobe by:
    • Dressing appropriately for the weather conditions. Is it cold outside? Make sure to wear layered clothing, such as:
      • A tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket
      • Inner layers of light, warm clothing, such as sweaters
      • A pair of mittens or insulated gloves
      • A warm hat
      • A scarf
      • A pair of waterproof boots
  • Step 2: Practicing safety precautions when outdoors:
    • Work slowly when doing outside chores.
    • Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
    • Carry a cell phone and make sure it’s charged!
    • Remember there might be ice under the snow. Walk slowly.
    • When entering your home or other buildings, be aware of the walkway conditions.
  • Step 3: Working outdoors? Make sure to take your time so you don’t become overly-strained. Strenuously shoveling heavy snow can be detrimental to your back and joints. Be careful and take several breaks
  • Step 4: Traveling this Christmas? Make sure you’re aware of the current weather conditions, as well as what’s on the forecast, so you’re never surprised. Leave with plenty of time and drive cautiously, especially if it starts snowing. But just because it’s warm out doesn’t mean you should start driving more quickly. Be mindful of black ice, which can be hard to see and could cause a potential accident if driven over quickly. Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
  • Step 5: Minding your neighbors and family; be prepared to check in on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards

Step 3: Winterize Your Automobile

If there’s snow on the forecast and you don’t enjoy the luxury of a garage, you might find yourself having to wake up early to get your car warmed up and clear of snow. But it’s also important to get your daily driver ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.
  • Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level to ensure your engine doesn’t freeze up or corrode; check tire tread or, if possible, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires that provide better traction on icy roads.
    • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
    • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
    • Assemble a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. The kit should include:
      • Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries;
      • Blankets;
      • Food and water;
      • Booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
      • Compass and maps;
      • Flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
      • First-aid kit; and
      • Plastic bags (for sanitation).

Step 5: Prepare for Potential Emergency Situations

Winter introduces the potential for peril and you should be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages. Prepare for a potential emergency by:
  • Stocking food that doesn’t require cooking or refrigeration, as well storing water in clean containers.
  • Ensuring that your cell phone is fully charged.
  • If traveling, being aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
    • Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.
      • Make your car visible to rescuers. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna, raise the hood of the car (if it is not snowing), and turn on the inside overhead lights (when your engine is running).
      • Move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area. Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away.
      • Keep your body warm. Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets, or newspapers. Huddle with other people if you can.
      • Stay awake and stay moving. You will be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems. As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to improve circulation and stay warmer.
      • Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let in air. Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe—this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Keeping an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
    • Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;
    • extra batteries;
    • first-aid kit and extra medicine;
    • baby items; and
    • cat litter or sand for icy walkways.
  • Protecting your family from carbon monoxide.
  • Keeping grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
  • Locating generators at least 20 feet from the house.
  • Leaving your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and calling 911.
Finally, you should be, above all, ready to check in on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.
As the CDC points out, no one can stop the onset of winter, but, if you follow these suggestions, you will be ready for it when it comes.
Be sure to visit CDC’s Winter Weather webpage for more winter weather safety tips.
Prepare for your winter job search or staffing needs at MVP Staffing. Contact us HERE to see if we can get you prepared for the new year.