Tips to Carry You Safely into 2020: Protect your home and family in the new year
With the New Year and resolutions on everyone’s mind, now is the time to think about some personal and home safety steps that can help carry you and your family safely into and through 2020, as well as save you time and money by avoiding winter-related damage to your home or business.
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighters always see an increase in outdoor-related injuries around the first of the year.
Keep these things in mind to minimize your risk of personal injury:
- Increased slip and fall injuries are of particular concern this time of year.
- Be extra careful on icy surfaces around your home ─ use kitty litter or sand to increase traction.
- Make sure to dress appropriately for outdoor activity; dress in layers with hats, gloves, and waterproof boots.
- Be aware of the windchill factor, which can often lower the temperature by several degrees.
- Avoid traveling when the weather service issues storm advisories.
- If you must travel, make sure someone knows where you are going, what time you expect to arrive, and the route you plan to take.
- Pack extra water, food, blankets, and clothing in case of an unexpected emergency or delay.
There are also steps you can take to improve the safety of your home this winter.
- Have your home heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
- If you are heating with wood, inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
- Always discard ashes in a metal container away from combustible materials.
- Check your smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly.
- Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies by installing a CO alarm in your home.
In addition to fires, TVF&R firefighters respond to other types of emergencies that can cause severe damage to homes and businesses. We recommend you take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the water shut off for your home/business if you haven’t done so already.
For the past several winters, TVF&R firefighters responded to hundreds of calls for frozen water pipes that burst and began flowing water. Businesses and homeowners suffered thousands of dollars in damage because they didn’t know how to stop the water from flowing.
During region-wide weather events, first responders must prioritize their response to life-safety incidents.
Knowing how to shut off your water and calling a professional can prevent significant damage to your home. Also, insulate exposed water pipes in the garage and cover outdoor water spigots.
Visit www.tvfr.com for more winter safety tips.