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Winter Safety Tips  

Now that winter is here, I would like to share some very important information with you.

Protecting Your Home

Every home should have a disaster supplies kit:

The kit should include a battery-operated radio, flashlight, matches, extra batteries and an extra set of house and car keys.  Stock ample wood for the fireplace and plenty of nonperishable foods that can be eaten without heating. Keep bottled water and juices on hand in case your power and water supplies are interrupted. Other items to include in the kit are prescription medicines and nonperishable infant formula, especially if there is a chance that roads will be impassable.

Remove dead tree branches. Ice and snow, combined with winter winds, can cause limbs to snap.

Clean gutters - Snow and ice can build up quickly, especially if your gutters are clogged with debris. When thawing begins, water from melting ice has nowhere to drain and can back up under your roof and eaves, causing water damage to walls and ceilings. Consider buying screens to keep your gutters debris-free.

Check your homeowners insurance policy to make sure coverage is adequate for the type of winter weather in your area. Learn what is excluded from the policy.

Make sure auxiliary heaters and fireplaces are adequately maintained and serviced. Many fires related to auxiliary heating sources are preventable through simple maintenance. Before installing a wood-burning stove, check with local fire officials as to codes and proper installation techniques. Do not store kerosene in a non-approved container or in your home.

Winterizing Your Auto                                                        

Prepare a winter emergency kit for yourself and keep it in the trunk with:

A metal coffee can to store small items and for melting snow to drink, sand or non-clumping cat litter for tire traction if your vehicle gets stuck in ice or snow, a charger or an extra battery for a cell phone. If a cell phone isn’t available, have change for use in pay phones, brightly colored cloth to use as a signal for help, and blankets

Winterize your car. Get a tune-up to save wear and tear on the battery. Consider snow tires or chains as your travel dictates. Other car care tips include: Check radiator coolant and sturdiness of hoses and belts. Refer to the car manual to see if a lighter grade oil is recommended for winter driving. Change burned out headlights, tail lights and turn signals. Check that tire tread is 1/16 inch for adequate traction. Make sure brakes are in proper working order.

Keep spare window washer fluid in the trunk and make sure the wiper blades are in good working order.

Winter-Wise Driving Tips

When you’re on the road in winter, pay attention to weather reports. Allow time in your schedule for bad weather and/or traffic delays.

Become familiar with your vehicle’s winter weather operating characteristics. Front-wheel-drive vehicles generally handle better than rear-wheel vehicles on slippery roads because the weight of the engine is on the drive wheels, improving traction.

Keep your windows clear, inside and out, and remember to clean head, tail and brake lights.

Never decrease tire pressure in an effort to gain traction. All you’ll do is wear out your tires.

If you need to turn on your wipers, you need to turn on your headlights. Low beams are better in wet weather.

Bridges get slick and icy before roads. Bridge temperatures can be 5-6 degrees colder than roadways, so drive with extreme caution when temperatures get around freezing.

Keep your gas tank at least half full. Fill the tank before you park for lengthy periods. This will help prevent fuel line freeze-up and be a lifesaver if you become stranded and must rely on your car for shelter.

Leave ample stopping time between you and the driver in front of you. Braking distance can be up to nine times greater on snowy, icy surfaces than on dry roads.

If your vehicle is equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), be sure to:

STOMP - firmly depress the brake pedal. STAY on the brakes - do not pump the brakes.

STEER where you want the vehicle to go. It is normal to hear noise and feel the brake pedal vibrate while you are applying continuous pressure to the brakes.

Survival Tips if You Are Stranded

The best advice is to remain with your car. If nothing else, you are guaranteed shelter, something you will not have if you leave the car. Other helpful tips include:

Tie a brightly colored cloth to your antenna, driver-side door handle or outside mirror.

Have a charged cell phone to call for help in case you become stranded.

Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow. Poisonous gases filter into your car if the pipe is clogged.

Run your engine and heater no more than ten minutes every hour. Crack open a down-wind window for ventilation when the engine is running.

Light a flare to let people know you’re in the car.

Use floor mats, seat covers and blankets for added warmth.

Keep bottled water in the car or melt snow in a coffee can for drinking water. Eating snow will only lower your body temperature.

Remain calm. Chances for rescue are better if you remain calm and in your car.  

 

 

Wayne County Sheriff's Office, 201 W. North Street,  Wooster Ohio 44691
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