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Winter Weather Safety Tips

Winter Weather Safety Tips

Take note of these winter weather safety tips to protect your family and property:


  • When temperatures are below 25 degrees F and sustained for extended periods, set the hot water heater to "Pilot" if so equipped and run a steady flow of water about the size of a number 2 pencil through all faucets, both hot and cold. Disconnect outside water hoses from faucets and drain the hose. Make sure to check that any exposed pipes or faucets are wrapped. Run a steady flow of water to outside faucets too.

  • Familiarize yourself with the location of the water shut-off valve in case an emergency occurs and quick action is indicated.

  • Set thermostats to manual and between 68-71 degrees F for the duration of cold weather if you intend to leave your home.


  • Slow down. Be prepared to drive significantly slower than you normally would on dry roads.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  • Watch for icy patches and black ice (thin ice that looks like water) -- particularly on overpasses and elevated roads.
  • Increase following distance between your vehicle and vehicles ahead of you.
  • Do not use cruise control on roads that may have ice.
  • Look and steer in the direction you want to go.
  • Stay on hard surfaces.

General Safety

  • Top off the fluids, including fuel, in at least one of your vehicles. If it is a diesel engine, remember that with temps below 20 degrees F the fuel has potential to gel, and an additive should be added when topping off your fuel tank.

  • Be prepared to shelter for several days; wear warm clothes in layers. Buy groceries that can be easily prepared should there be loss of electricity.

  • Use caution on entry steps, stairways, sidewalks, ramps and while entering/exiting vehicles. The surfaces may be very slippery.

  • Have extra blankets ready and available for use. Keep some blankets in your car too in the event you should have vehicle mechanical issues and become stranded on the roadside.

  • Avoid exhausts from heaters and generators that may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Ventilation should be present if using gas heaters, including kerosene heaters. Generators should not be run close to the house or under porches, garages, etc. Generators should be at least 8 feet away from your house with exhaust directed away from your home.

  • Prevent children and the elderly from getting too close to heaters as they may burn themselves or lose their balance and fall on them.

  • Use caution with extension cords, which have the potential to become trip hazards. Make sure to use cords with a heavy gauge to support the higher voltage required by electric heaters and other devices being used. If possible, use surge protected devices to prevent overloading power outlets.