While the weather is still hinting at our approaching Minnesota winter, it is time to get prepared for the cold weather.
If you have not replaced the battery in your smoke detectors, now is the time to do it.
Do you have a carbon monoxide alarm? If it uses batteries, change them. If you don’t have one yet, get one. They will detect deadly carbon monoxide and alert you and your family to the danger, so you can evacuate. Carbon monoxide usually originates from furnaces or other combustion based heating appliances. Make sure you have your furnace serviced by a professional once a year to make sure everything is working properly.
Even after being serviced, things can happen that may cause your furnace to leak carbon monoxide into your home. You will almost never know it unless you have a carbon monoxide detector.
“Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:
Dull headache, Weakness, Dizziness, Nausea or vomiting, Shortness of breath, Confusion, Blurred vision, or Loss of consciousness
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be especially dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated. People may have irreversible brain damage or even be killed before anyone realizes there's a problem.”
We have two carbon monoxide alarms in our home. One on the basement level furnace area, and another on the main floor near the bedrooms.
Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are usually only effective for seven to ten years. There is usually a date printed on the label inside the alarm. Replace them once they have reached their expiration date. What price do you place on your families safety?
The next important winter necessity is a winter car/transportation kit.
This is Minne-snow-ta, so we need to be prepared for winter driving. Some of us without a garage get a head start with having to dig out the ice scrapers on those first frosty mornings. Others are not so fortunate and don’t think about the scraper until they get off work and come out and find a nicely frosted car.
Getting your car serviced for winter use is not as common as it used to be. Not many of us put on snow tires any more. But there are specific emergency items to store in your car during the winter. There are also maintenance checks to keep you safe, your vehicle warm and your engine running.
Follow these tips and find more winter preparedness information at Ready.gov.
Check or have a mechanic check items, such as:
• Antifreeze levels and mixture - ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
• Battery and ignition system - should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
• Exhaust system - check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
• Heater and defroster - ensure they work properly.
• Lights and flashing hazard lights - check for serviceability.
• Windshield wiper equipment - repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
• Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions.
Add winter items to the emergency kits in your vehicles:
• A shovel, windshield scraper, a small broom, water, snack food, extra hats, socks and mittens, blanket(s), tow chain or rope, road salt and sand.
I think I have my vehicles ready, but where is that ice scraper for the car?
Until next month, be prepared, and stay safe.