Top Cold Weather Safety Tips

Welcome back to OC-Outdoors!  I know I haven't been able to get many posts or videos uploaded here lately.  But our area of the United States is seeing temperatures none of us have seen before (or at least wind chills).  Currently looking at the local weather radar, it is -18 degrees Fahrenheit with a feels like temp of -39° and it's 10:30AM!! So needless to say I haven't been able to get many of my outdoor activities completed lately.  So I thought it would be a good opportunity to write about some cold weather safety tips and how to keep warm in this winter weather.

 Tip #1
Stay inside as much as possible!  This probably goes without saying, but if you don't have to leave the house, don't!  I understand there are some business that either cannot or will not shut down just because of cold weather.  Luckily I work for a company that decided their employees safety was more important and gave us the last couple days off. If you must travel out, be sure to get to your destination and go inside there as quickly as possible.

Tip #2
Keep emergency kits inside your car.  It's important to be prepared for the cold weather if something happens on your route.  My wife and I almost always have a blanket in our vehicles at the minimum.  During these cold spells we both threw an extra blanket, hat, and gloves in our vehicles.  It's not a bad idea to also throw an emergency roadside kit in too!  You never know when you may need roadside assistance.  Better to be over prepared and not need it than to need it and  not have it!

Tip #3
Turn your furnace up and keep it on "hold" mode.  Take a look at these tips here on your furnace I found.  Take note of tip #2. If you think about it, it makes sense.  If you set you thermostat lower, the temperature in the house will fall to that setting.  However, if the outside temperature is extremely low like it has been the last few days here, the furnace is still not going to be able to keep up and it'll keep running constantly just to maintain the lower temp.  In all actuality you should just keep the temp you want or a couple degrees warmer programmed in so that your house maintains that temperature even if the furnace is running more.

Tip #4
Ensure all windows and openings are sealed tight.  This should just be common maintenance on your home, but if you make sure all weather stripping for windows and doors is in good condition, it helps immensely to keep the outside weather out of your home.  Any draft in the winter is going to let in the extreme cold winter weather which in turn lowers the inside temperature causing the furnace to kick on.  The same goes for the summer time when the heat from the outdoors can get in, the air conditioner will then kick on more often. This is why it's always a good idea to ensure the weather sealing is doing its job on all windows and doors no matter what the season is.

Tip #5
The last tip I have for you today is to stock up on heavy clothing and blankets!  I realize this too may seem obvious but it's amazing how many people want their homes to be set at 70+ degrees no matter how cold it is.  Then when their furnace cannot keep up, they call reporting their furnace is broken.  In all reality no furnace is designed to keep up with the extreme cold we are experiencing this year!  Your best bet is to put on a couple extra layers of clothes, grab a blanket and hot cocoa and just enjoy the day. 

Overall, most of these tips are pretty easy steps to take.  There isn't anything complicated or shocking, but they are important steps to take when the weather drops into the negative temperatures.  My wife and I follow these tips every winter not just when we get the extreme low temperatures and I hope that you will too!  If you have certain cold weather safety tips, please share them in a comment below!

PS: Don't forget tomorrow I will be posting the very first topic for our monthly photo contest!  Be sure to check back so you can get you photo's entered!

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