It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Winter will soon set the stage for the holidays with new fallen snow on trees, buildings and roads. There are many things to enjoy during a New Hampshire winter, as long as you are safe and prepared!
Here are a few common hazards and ways you can protect yourself over the next few months:
Slipping on Ice
Temperatures in December – February fluctuate around freezing levels, causing trouble for roads and walkways. Rain in the morning can create slick conditions as temperatures drop. Ice and snow that melted during the day will freeze again once the sun sets. Some ice patches are easy to spot, but black ice can be harder to distinguish against wet surfaces.
Solution: Wear shoes with good traction whenever you venture outside. For enhanced safety, consider purchasing ice cleats or snow chains. Spread ice melt along walkways and driveways to speed up the melting process and slow down the rate of refreezing. For those who use canes and walkers, replace worn out tips to make walking easier. Take off your wet shoes as soon as you get inside to avoid creating slippery puddles on your floor.
Frostbite and Hypothermia
Hypothermia ensues when your body temperature dips too low. According to the Center for Disease Control, most hypothermia-related deaths occur in people over the age of 65. Another danger is frostbite, which occurs when parts of the body are exposed to the cold for a sustained length of time. Areas that are usually affected include cheeks, ears, nose, fingers and toes. Extreme cases of frostbite sometimes end in amputation.
Solution: Your body temperature should never drop below 95 degrees. Dressing warmly is the best form of protection against cold temperatures. Also, make sure that your home heating system is working properly and efficiently to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. Always wear warm socks, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf when you go outside. It is important to cover all exposed skin to prevent frostbite.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than driving in the winter is breaking down in the winter! Whether it’s during your commute to work or running out during a storm for supplies, your car needs to be reliable.
Solution: Take care of your car as you would take care of yourself and make sure it’s ready to go this winter. Schedule an appointment to get new tires and a battery if necessary, and make sure your oil and antifreeze levels are topped off. You should also have a blanket and a flashlight in your car at all times in the event of an accident. Even something as simple as getting new windshield wipers can make a huge difference while driving on wintry roads.
Power outages can occur at any time of year, but they can have more serious repercussions during the winter. No power and no heat can be dangerous for seniors and people with disabilities. Plus, snow accumulation can make it difficult for crews to get out to your area and restore power. During the ice storm of 2008 and the Thanksgiving storm of 2014, some people in New Hampshire were without power and heat for over a week!
Solution: Make sure you have easy access to flashlights and battery powered radios so you can navigate your home and stay informed on developments. Quantities of fresh water are necessities in the event of a lengthy power outage. More and more people are using generators to keep their essential appliances and heating systems running. If using a generator, be sure to follow all necessary safety precautions. You should also have someone you can depend on to clear your walkway or driveway. Even if you have no close family to help you, chances are you can find a neighbor or a friend who will.
Check out helpful resources such as Care.com and the Center for Disease Control for more information on preparing yourself and your home for winter. You can also visit our Facebook page for winter safety tips and weather alerts. We’ll be monitoring inclement weather throughout the winter, and let you know what’s coming.