With extreme winter weather conditions persisting across the country, FLASH today released 12 Days of Winter Safety tips and resources as a part of the Great Winter Weather Party digital media campaign launched in 2011. This comprehensive and cost-effective list is aimed at arming families with the necessary information and tools to winterize their home and better protect families from extreme cold and winter storms.
1st day of Winter Safety: Enter to win a Kohler Generator. A home generator will keep systems running to protect your home and family. Generators:
- Provide heat to keep you warm and comfortable
- Prevent pipes from freezing and causing water damage
- Keep communications systems running so you can stay informed of weather and travel conditions for friends and family
- Ensure that water removal pumps or sump pumps are protecting the basement from water damage as snow begins to melt
- Preserve food and fresh water for the family
- Support well pumps for running water/toilet flushing
2nd Day of Winter Safety: Purchase a weather alerting device. Get warnings on severe weather in your area by downloading the FLASH Weather Alerts App for $7.99 or paying an average of $44 for a NOAA Weather Radio.
3rd Day of Winter Safety: Prevent Frozen Pipes by Foam, Dome or Drip. For as little as $1 per 6’ of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing and save energy, money and frustration. When water freezes in a pipe, it expands and can exert pressure of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch – enough to rupture almost any pipe filled with water. When a pipe bursts, it can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, resulting in the second most common cause of home insurance claims in America.
4th Day of Winter Safety: Check for air leaks around windows and doors using a lit incense stick. If the smoke is sucked out of an opening, seal the leak with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping. Don’t forget about holes in the attic, basement and crawlspaces. The easiest place to insulate that will generate the biggest results is your attic. The US Environmental Protection Agency suggests at least 12 to 15 inches of insulation on the floor of your attic.
5th Day of Winter Safety: Winterize your backyard. Move outdoor furniture, grills, toys, plants and other items to a covered, protected space to prolong the life of these items and make it easier to clear snow and ice from decks after a storm. Clean leaves from gutters. For as little as $5 you can install gutter downspout extensions a minimum of four feet from the house.
6th Day of Winter Safety: Check your portable heaters. Half of all fire-related deaths are caused by items placed too closely to heat sources. Make sure that your heater is tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories. Keep portable heaters at least three feet away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials. Place the heater on a level surface away from areas it can be bumped or knocked over.
7th Day of Winter Safety: Make your car winter safe. Create a car emergency kit with flashlights, a distress flag, blankets, extra food and water. Keep it there throughout the season.
8th Day of Winter Safety: Clean and check your fireplace. Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials. Provide proper venting systems for all heating equipment. Make sure all vent pipes extend at least three feet above the roof.
9th Day of Winter Safety: Check your furnace. Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition. Have a licensed professional inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line and make any necessary repairs. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required. Check the flue pipe and pipe seams to make sure they are well supported, and free of holes and cracks. Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak. Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.
10th Day of Winter Safety: Prevent fires from outside of your fireplace. Be sure to stack firewood stored outside at least 30 feet away from your home. Keep your roof clear of potential fire starters like leaves, pine needles and other debris. Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues or vents. For as little as $25 you can cover all vent openings to the attic, eaves/soffits, foundation, etc. with a corrosion-resistant non-combustible 1/4 inch or smaller wire mesh or screen that prevents firebrands from entering the home.
11th Day of Winter Safety: Prepare the outside of your home before and after winter storms. For as little as $5, you can keep your family and friends safe from icy walkways. Before the storm approaches, lay down a layer of deicing sand/salt to minimize the buildup of ice during the storm. After the storm, lay down layers of deicing sand/salt to melt the snow and ice. Once it begins to melt you can chip away at the layers with a snow shovel to move it off steps and walkways.
12th Day of Winter Safety: Prevent Ice Dams. Ice dams are formed when air in the attic is warm enough to cause snow and ice on the roof to thaw and refreeze repeatedly. Pools of water then become trapped under layers of ice that seep under your roof covering (tiles or shingles) into the attic. Keep the warm air downstairs where it belongs with sufficient insulation on the floor of the attic. Consider using a dehumidifier to control water vapor. Seal all openings that would allow vapor to rise into the attic; including holes created from installing light fixtures, ceiling fans or disco balls. Provide attic ventilation to replace warm air in the attic with cold outside air. Consult a professional for the best way to avoid ice dams and water damage in your home. Keep gutters and downspouts clear to allow melted snow and ice to flow away from your home.