Prepare for extremely cold weather every winter – it’s always an option. There are steps you can take in advance to increase the safety of your home in the winter.
Listen to weather forecasts regularly and check your emergency supplies when a period of extreme cold is predicted. Although periods of extreme cold can not always be predicted well in advance, weather forecasts can sometimes give you several days notice.
If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected every year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one online.
If you need a fireplace, wood stove or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them every month and replace the batteries twice a year. All fuel combustion equipment must be vented to the outside.
Every winter season, have your furnace system and vent checked by a qualified technician to ensure that they are working properly.
If you are over 65, place an easy-to-read thermometer indoors where you will often see it. Your ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age. Older adults are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. Check the temperature in your home often during the winter months.
Insulate any water pipes that run along exterior walls so that your water supply is less likely to freeze. To the extent possible, secure your home by adding weatherproofing, insulation, insulated doors and storm windows or double glazing.
If you have pets, bring them indoors. If you are unable to bring them in, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and ensure they have access to unfrozen water.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the most unhealthy states in our nation; but a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating a portion of nutritious food that is normally proportionate, including at least five fruits and vegetables a day, can reduce weight and reduce heart disease. Second, exercise for about 30 minutes a day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your necessary preventative screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances of a positive health outcome while getting the recommended vaccinations, can prevent you from getting the disease in the first place. Visit our website at www.LCDHD.org and click on the banner “52 weeks to health” to learn more about each of these areas.