Preparing for Winter: How to Stay Safe in the Cold

Winter weather is a fact of life for much of the country, but when it brings below-zero temperatures and strong winds, it can be very dangerous. Here are our top five winter safety tips for protecting yourself and your family during the coldest of cold snaps.

1. Keep Space Heaters at Least 3 Feet From Flammables

When using a space heater, use the 3-foot rule: Keep the heater 3 feet away from flammable objects like paper, clothing, curtains and rugs to stay warm and safe at the same time. Watch your kerosene heater for any flickering flames or smoke, this could be a sign of contaminated fuel or improper combustion. When using a wood burning stove, make sure you don’t overload it. Overloading can cause combustion by-products to stick to the inside walls of a cooler chimney. This highly combustible residue, called creosote, can cause a chimney fire. If you’ve lost power, always remember that you never, ever run a generator inside your home.

2. Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit

Getting stuck on the road can be dangerous, no matter the season. But in harsh winter weather, keeping a set of emergency supplies in your vehicle can be lifesaving if you get stranded. Your emergency roadside kit should include blankets, a flashlight, fresh batteries, cell phone charger and sand/kitty litter for tire traction when traveling in the winter.

3. Protect Your Pets

Winter safety is as important for your pets as it is for you. Bring your pets inside whenever possible, but if they have to stay outside, be sure they have a warm place for shelter and fresh, unfrozen water. 

4. Keep Pipes Warm

Keep warm air inside your home circulating near your pipes and consider turning your faucets on to a drip to keep the water moving to prevent frozen pipes. Keep pipes warm by opening your cabinet doors and moving rugs in front of drafty doors. If you have exposed pipes that are especially at risk of freezing, protect them by adding insulation around them.

5. Avoid Frostbite

If you must go outside, wear several lightweight layers for better insulation and to preserve your body heat. This is especially important for farmers or ranchers working in cold weather. Watch for symptoms of frostbite like numbness, skin turning white or grayish-yellow or skin feeling unusually firm or waxy. Contact your medical professional if you detect any of these symptoms.

Winter Safety for Your Home, Too

Winter can also be tough on your home. Protect your peace of mind this season with home insurance from Farm Bureau.