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Personal Safety against Winter’s Chill

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Winter brings joyous holiday celebrations and for many, outdoor activities like skiing, ice skating, or simply building a snowman in the backyard. It can also bring storms which leave homes without power and/or snowed in. Planning for protection against the cold weather, whether you have chosen to be in it or a blizzard has swept through your neighborhood, is the best way to ensure a safe and happy winter season.

The CDC recommends these preparations for outside activity in winter: first and foremost, wear appropriate clothing. Lightweight layers of warm clothes, hats, mittens, scarves, and waterproof boots are a necessity.

It is also wise to familiarize yourself with outdoor safety precautions and "take a buddy...when you are participating in outdoor recreation." If you are alone or with a friend, take a cell phone and emergency kit. Don't overexert yourself when participating in chores.

A list of items that every household should have when preparing for the possibility of being trapped by a winter storm can be found here. It includes: a three day supply for each family member of "food that does not require refrigeration and can be prepared without heat or electricity," a "supply of specialty items such as medications, infant ready-to-feed formulas, and dietary items," and a flashlight with fresh batteries, including spares.

The Weather Channel suggests formulating a "Family Preparedness Plan" for the winter season. The plan should provide for "a place to go when a winter storm warning is issued, depending on where you are...at home, school, work, or if you're outdoors or in your car." Also, choose a place at which family members can meet if you are separated by the storm and select a friend or relative as a severe winter storm contact.

Taking the proper precautions can make your winter a safe and enjoyable one. Dress appropriately and prepare accordingly. And one last suggestion: a generator is an advisable purchase, but only if it is safely installed and operated.

SOURCES:
http://www.cdc.gov/features/winterweather/
http://www.weather.com/life/safety/winter/article/winter-before-the-storm_2011-10-04
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dmx/?n=preparewintersafety

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