January 2018 brought record snowfall and even freezing rain to parts of Florida, and while it’s rare to see snow in the Sunshine State, it can and does happen. Many Floridians don’t think to prepare for such weather events, but sometimes winter weather preparedness can keep you more comfortable – or even save your life. Here are five winter weather preparedness tips designed to help you stay safe with minimal effort.
#1 – Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car
If there is even the slightest possibility of snow and ice in the forecast, keep an emergency kit in your car stocked with the following items:
- A flashlight and extra batteries;
- Blankets – at least one per traveler;
- Non-perishable food items that will not freeze;
- Cell phone power bank for emergency charging;
- Crank or battery-powered radio with extra batteries; and
- A bag of cat litter for ease in getting back on the road after a slide-off.
Aside from this, each time you must travel during wintry precipitation, be sure to bring water along. Don’t store it in your car long term, though, as the container may burst when the water freezes.
#2 – Get an HVAC Inspection
If you have a traditional furnace or heat pump, be sure that you get an HVAC inspection every year. There will be some years when you may not need to heat your home at all, but there will be others when you rely on a functioning heating system to stay warm. Annual inspections are vital when it comes to winter weather preparedness, so be sure you schedule them ahead of time – long before the cold snap hits.
#3 – Use Caution with Space Heat
Electric, LP, and kerosene space heaters can come in very handy in a pinch – especially if the power goes out during a cold snap. However, it’s vital that you use these appropriately according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to research the proper operation of whatever heater you choose, and if you’re using a fuel-fired heater, make sure it’s properly ventilated. Combustion gases can be toxic, even if you don’t see or smell them.
#4 – Bundle Up
When the temperatures outside start falling, it can be incredibly tempting to simply turn up the thermostat to keep it warmer in your home. However, even a change of just two degrees can result in significant cost increases, so avoid it when possible. Put on an extra layer of clothes, wear slippers around the house, and consider using electric blankets to help you stay warm. These are budget-friendlier winter weather preparedness tips, and they’ll keep you just as warm.
#5 – Take Warnings Seriously
Finally, it’s important to pay close attention to weather forecasts and take any warnings seriously. If there is snow, ice, or even subfreezing temperatures in the forecast, pack up your emergency kit and make a plan for what you will do if you lose power. Having a plan in place that covers all the possibilities provides you with peace of mind and may even help save your life in dire circumstances.
Winter weather preparedness is important whether you live in New England or the Deep South. Being ready for anything can truly pay off, so be sure to use these winter weather preparedness tips to your advantage. Doing so can help your family stay warm and safe throughout the year.