Our Opinion: Prepare for cold

Published 10:12 am Thursday, December 5, 2013

Residents were greeted today by the crisp, chilly air that reminds everyone winter is here. Unfortunately, residents are also greeted by single-digit temperatures, a wind chill advisory and freezing cold conditions outside for the foreseeable future.

That means it’s time for those Mower County residents who haven’t prepared for the winter to take heed of the weather and make sure they’re ready for this time of year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines a list of things to have on-hand in case the weather turns nasty. Aside from a good communication plan for your family, the CDC advises people to have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies in case the power to their home goes out.

Email newsletter signup

In addition, keeping a water supply handy is great even when the weather is mild. Make sure pipes don’t freeze by keeping the indoor temperature warm and allowing more heat near pipes. If pipes do freeze, don’t try to thaw them with a torch. Instead, use a hair dryer.

Make sure you have an alternate heating source in case your heat goes out, which could mean a space heater or a fireplace. Keep heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and drapes. Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.

Of course, preparing an emergency kit in your car is a must for Minnesota winters. A battery-powered radio, windshield scraper, shovel, flashlight, water, extra snacks, extra outerwear, blankets, sand, emergency flares, booster cables and a first aid kit are all excellent emergency kit choices.

And if you choose to exercise outdoors, make sure you wear enough outer clothing, such as a coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and a scarf, in order to protect your body from frostbite and freezing temperatures.

This may seem evident to the average Minnesotan, but surprisingly enough there are plenty of people who don’t take the time to prepare for winter emergencies. When the winter gets this cold, it’s a good idea to be ready for anything.