Outdoor Winter Safety Tips
Being prepared is your best defense against winter
Whether you love it or loathe it, winter is here. If you live in a region that experiences freezing temperatures and snowstorms, this time of year presents some extra challenges. We want to help keep your family and your home safe this season, so we’ve put together this guide with our best outdoor winter safety tips. From ensuring your equipment is ready to go, to having an emergency kit in your car, being prepared will be your best defense against winter.
Snow and Ice Removal
Paths and Driveways
This category is an important one, as it’s not just you and your family using your paths and driveway. Delivery and service people, along with guests to your home can all risk an injury if the paths are not cleared properly. Check the condition of your snow shovels and scrapers and replace them if necessary. Make sure they’re easily accessible when the time comes. Snowblowers should be maintained, and you should have fuel ready to go.
Have a supply of salt or ice melt, sand, or gravel on hand. Be sure that products like ice melt or salt are safe for pets, your lawn, and your well and septic system if applicable. Sand, gravel, or kitty litter can help provide traction on the pathways. If there are stairs leading up to your doors, ensure that railings are secure and stable. Loose railings could lead to further injuries when someone reaches for them if they slip on the stairs.
Snow and ice don’t just need to be removed from driveways – look up! Rooves, gutters, eavestroughs, and trees all need your attention. While icicles can be beautiful and festive, they can also be a hazard. If they are forming, be sure to remove them before they fall on someone. Icicles can also be an indicator of ice dams forming on your roof. The best way to prevent ice dams is by ensuring that your attic is properly insulated and ventilated. This will prevent the warm air from your home from entering the attic, which causes the snow to melt, and then refreezes into the much colder gutters in the form of icicles.
If you have not cleared dead or broken tree branches in the fall, be mindful of them in the winter. With snow and ice covering them, they are further weakened and can break off entirely. Depending on their location, these branches could fall on your house, car, or on a person. Eliminate this hazard by cutting back any damaged or dead trees. If any broken branches are in your yard, they should be removed as they can be a tripping hazard, especially when covered in snow.
An unfortunate part of winter is that it's dark out when you leave for work, and it is dark again by the time you get home. Ensure that you have full visibility at night by having adequate lighting along your walkways and on the porch. You may want to consider lights with solar power, motion detectors, or on timers so that they are on and ready once the sun sets.
Maintain Your Equipment
If you own them, make sure your snowblower and generator are properly maintained and ready to go for any winter storms. When you take them out of storage, do a general maintenance tune-up and make sure they are operating properly. Purchase fresh fuel to have on hand, and make sure you have an appropriate storage container for it – do not store the fuel in the snowblower or generator. You will also want to make sure you have appropriate oil levels, and fresh spark plugs on hand. Ensure that the belts are not worn out and that they are properly adjusted – it wouldn’t hurt to keep a spare ready to go. On your snowblower, check that the chutes work properly, and all moving parts have been lubricated. You should also keep some extra shear bolts on hand. If one breaks it can easily be replaced and you’ll be back up and running. If you have an electric snowblower, ensure that the power cord and extension cord are in good condition – there should be no cracking or fraying. If you have a battery-powered model, have some spare batteries charged and ready to go.
Preparing Your Vehicle
You won’t always be cozy at home when the snow falls, so you want to ensure that your vehicle is properly equipped! Check that your snow brushes and scrapers are in good condition and replace them if necessary. Keep spare windshield washer fluid that is rated for winter temperatures in the car or trunk, and make sure that the dispenser under the hood is filled up. In the trunk, you should keep a bag of sand or kitty litter, as it can provide traction if your tires are stuck. A small shovel can also help, especially with keeping snow away from your wheels and exhaust. Along with the standard emergency kit items for your car, add warm blankets and extra hats and mittens for the winter months. If you end up stuck somewhere, you’ll be thankful for the extra layers!
Keeping your home, car, and equipment maintained and well-stocked will help you get through winter safely! Keeping walkways and gutters clear of ice will ensure there are no accidents waiting to happen. If you’ve noticed you could use some spare or replacement parts, we have you covered! Simply search for your model number on our website. Be sure to follow along with our YouTube Channel to stay up to date on all the new content.