You can’t beat the timing: day after Christmas, a Sunday, no school for at least a week. Still, if you’re comfortable amid the frightful weather, take some time to be sure you and your family are safe. Here’s a mini-checklist:
Start with checking whether your address number is visible from the street in case you need police, firefighters or ambulance service.
Also: Consider neighbors who might need help in case of an emergency. Be sure you know whether they’re OK.
Keep hydrants clear — no snow, no cans (If you can, take a moment to clear the closest hyrant).
Know where the nearest neighborhood fire alarm box is. These work independently during power outtages, so you can call help if your phone doesn’t work.
If you still have power, charge all your phones fully NOW.
Be sure carbon monoxide detectors are working.
If you use space heaters, keep them away from curtains — as well as from kids and pets. Better to use extra blankets.
DO NOT run your car, generator or any other gas-powered machine inside.
If you’re shoveling, use a small one (so you lift less weight); drink lots of fluids; take lots of breaks (even if only a couple of minutes); don’t fling the snow — dump it easily. And STOP if you feel any pain.
If you absolutely, positively must go out — because you work in emergency or essential services or are in the middle of an emergency yourself — here’s some solid advice from New Jersey State Police Sgt. First Class Stephen Jones :
“Anyone taking to the roads should bring appropriate clothing to protect themselves in the event that their vehicle becomes disabled. In addition, a fully charged mobile phone and ice scraper should be considered as very important pieces of equipment. If an accident should occur, occupants of should remain in their vehicles if they are off the road. If the vehicles are disabled in the traveled lanes, occupants should only leave when they can see that there is adequate time to get to a safe location.”
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