Time to prepare

Snow fell in our area yesterday, the first “real” snow this winter. And like the clock chiming the hour, the first snow should act as the signal to get ready for the season.

Every winter causes the same sort of car and home-related issues, and every large snowstorm causes hundreds of accidents and thousands of dollars in damages to residents across the state. If you haven’t prepared for the long freeze ahead, now’s a good time to start.

Winter-proof your vehicles. Get your car battery tested, as batteries are among the most common car problem in cold weather. Make sure you have good winter tires and stay to the speed limit at all times; there were 7,029 vehicle crashes statewide in snowy weather in 2011, and 16,691 crashes where road conditions were affected by snow in that same period. Check your fluid levels, make sure your car gets a few minutes to heat up before going anywhere, and stay attentive to other drivers.

Your home needs the same consideration. Caulk and weather-strip your doors and windows, and cover your windows in plastic if necessary. Make sure your heater is clean and works properly and get it inspected where necessary. Any fuel-burning equipment like a fireplace needs to have an unobstructed vent to the outside. If you’re going to use a fireplace, make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy. Get your home insulated and figure out how to shut off your water valves if a pipe bursts.

It’s November already, and if you haven’t at least started to weather out the winter, you’re behind the curve. Take care and be prepared for the cold.

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