The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents.* Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving. Winter transportation can mean ice, snow and hazardous roads. Driving conditions can change in an instant. Your first line of defense is to make sure your vehicle is in top condition and that you are prepared. This section of our presentation discusses steps you can take to prepare your vehicle for the winter months. *http://www.fema.gov/hazards/winterstorms/winterf.shtm
At regular intervals, check the following items, and if necessary have a mechanic service your vehicle. Be sure to read your owners manual!
Install good winter tires on all four wheels. . Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter driving. Consider your own driving situation and have tires that meet your own needs. People who drive on well plowed roads can, indeed, get by with all season tires that have adequate tread. People who drive on back roads that may not be well maintained, or have to drive in hilly terrain, or who drive rear-wheel drive vehicles would be well advised to have winter tires.
Before you start. Clear the windshield and all windows of ice, snow or fog Don’t leave snow on hood or roof, where it can blow back onto the windows Carry supplies in your car to help you keep windows clear at all times Scraper Spray De-icer A Brush A Rag Extra windshield washer Consider carrying a spare set of wiper blades, as well
On the road. Start off slowly on ice or snow so the wheels won’t spin and lose traction Drive smoothly, allowing plenty of space between your vehicle and the one ahead when poor weather reduces visibility. Activate your directional signals for in advance when visibility is poor Put your low-beam headlights on in rain, snow, or on an overcast day. Keep in mind ice is more slippery when the temperature is right at the freezing point than when it’s well below freezing. If you skid, counter-steer, aiming in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go. Keep the nose of your vehicle out front. If the road is slippery, start braking earlier and allow more time and space to come to a full stop. Keep the inside of windows clear and dry for good visibility. - To keep inside of windows “clear and dry?” (Turn on the air conditioning to dehumidify the air.) Remember, water accumulates in underpasses and can create icy patches, also, overpasses may freeze sooner than adjoining road surfaces.
Increase your following distance. In poor weather conditions, it’s essential to leave more distance between your vehicle than you normally would with the one ahead. Under ideal conditions the Timed Interval Rule is to allow at least one second following distance, or lead time, for every ten feet (three meters) of vehicle length. In bad weather, the rule is to double or triple in amount.
How much fuel should you have at all times during the winter months? Answer – Half a tank WHY half a tank? (To prevent moisture from condensing inside the gas tank and contaminating the fuel.) What about diesel fuel – is it the same? Not really – diesel can be contaminated with water from the supplier, that’s why diesel fueled vehicles have water separators in their fuel system.
What is the leading cause of death during winter storms? Answer – Transportation Accidents
If moisture or frost clouds the insides of windows en route what should you do? Answer - Stop and remove it.
Where does water accumulates creating icy patches. Answer – Underpasses Why underpasses? Usually because they’re the low-spot in the roadway. When does it accumulate in underpasses? During the day when the weather is warmer allowing ice or snow to melt then re-freeze.
True of False? If your car breaks down in a snow storm, the first thing you should do is get out of the car and try to find safety. Answer – False! Stay in the car. Do not leave the car to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You may become disoriented and lost is blowing and drifting snow. First, they should get safely off the roadway if at all possible! Turn on flashers and turn off headlights and interior lights to prevent running down the battery. So, what should they do when they stay with the car? Run the heater 10 minutes per hour with the windows slightly open to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. That amount of heat will keep the car warm enough to prevent exposure. Put on all the clothes they have to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear! Use some sort of highly visible marking to alert others that the car is broken down – red handkerchief, sign, etc. Try and keep flashers clear of snow. Don’t open the hood.
Winter storms can be dangerous and damaging if you are unprepared. When the temperature starts to drop, it's time to think about getting your home ready. You should begin to take action early to prepare and protect your home for the season. You're better off preventing any potential problems ahead of time, because once the chill of winter arrives anything that goes wrong will inevitably be nothing but a headache to fix. The next section of our presentation outlines steps you can take to prepare your home for the winter months.
CO is a poisonous gas caused by problems related to a fuel-burning device such as an oil, goal, gas, wood or a kerosene furnace or space heater. Other sources include:
Sources of Carbon Monoxide Fireplace Woodstove Water Heater Gas Clothes Dryer Gas Stove Engines (car, snow blower, portable generator)
Purchase and install Underwriter’s Laboratory approved CO alarms outside sleeping areas. Have a qualified professional annually inspect gas appliances and water heater for leaks Use fuel-burning space heaters only as a temporary heating solution in well-ventilated areas and turn off before sleeping. Do not start or leave running cars and gas-powered small engines in garages or other enclosed areas. If the CO alarm sounds and family members do not feel sick, shut off all possible sources of CO, and ventilate your home. If the alarm sounds again, immediately contact a qualified professional to inspect for leaks. If the CO alarm sounds and family members are experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning, evacuate your home and call your fuel company or the fire department. States, including MA, do NOT allow un-vented fuel burning space heaters.
The cold causes a costly mess for some homeowners who find their pipes can’t withstand the temperatures. In fact, it doesn’t have to get to extremely low temperatures for pipes to start to freeze; it just has to go below freezing. In addition to frozen pipes, ice dams are also a leading cause of home damage during the winter months. There are some inexpensive steps that you can take to avoid a costly mess. Make sure adult family members know how to shut off the main water valve. Insulate pies, especially those close to outside walls, in attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest. If you have an outside electrical water pump, don’t forget to insulate it as well. Wrap pipes with heating tape. Seal air leaks surrounding our near pipes. Remember to bring garden hoses in and turn off and drain water to outdoor spigots and the cutoff valve. Keep heat at 55 F or higher. Keep sink cabinet doors open to allow more heat to circulate around pipes underneath, particularly if located near exterior walls. If you need to be away from home, leave the heat on or have your water systems, including hot water tanks, traps, etc, drained before you go. Consider adding antifreeze to your system if you expect extreme cold or an extended vacancy. Ask someone to check your home daily. Maintain your gutters. Remove leaves acorns sticks and other debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Trim trees and remove dead branches.
Keep the attic well ventilated. The colder the attic, the less melting and refreezing on the roof. Insulate the attic floor. An ice dam is an accumulation of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof, usually the gutter. When interior heat melts the snow on the roof, water runs down and refreezes at the roof’s edge where temperatures are much cooler. Eventually, the ice builds up and blocks water from draining off the roof. This, in turn, forces the water under the roof covering and into your attic or down the inside walls of your house.
Open all faucets. Be sure drains are open (should you decide to leave) just in case. Remove insulation from affected pipes. If possible, pour hot water over pipes, starting where exposure to the cold is greatest. An electric hair dryer of heater can be used, but be sure to remove any flammable materials and do not leave any heat source unattended. IF these methods don’t thaw your pipes, call your plumber. Don’t try to thaw pipes with an open flame of any kind and do not electrify copper plumbing.
Shut off the water immediately to prevent additional damage. Take proper precautions to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near standing water. Call your plumber Take an inventory of any damage property or possessions. Do not dispose of any items without the prior approval of your insurance adjuster.
While shoveling snow can be good exercise, it can also be dangerous for optimistic shovelers who take on more than they can handle. The National Safety Council offers the following tips to help you get a handle on safe shoveling: Individuals over the age of 40, or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful. If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor's permission. Do not shovel right after eating or while smoking. Take it slow! Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself. Be sure to stretch out and warm up before taking on the task. Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down variety. Push the snow as you shovel. It's easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way. Don't pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one. Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and &quot;sitting&quot; into the movement, you'll keep your spine upright and less stressed. Your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you. Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately. Dress warmly. Remember that extremities, such as the nose, ears, hands and feet, need extra attention during winter's cold. Wear a turtleneck sweater, cap, scarf, face protection, mittens, wool socks and waterproof boots.
In the event of a winter storm, you should maintain a household emergency supply kit, which should include enough food, water and supplies to last four days without power. Food that doesn’t require heating or refrigeration Manual can opener Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils 1 gallon of water per person per day Flashlights and batteries Battery-powered radio Cellular phone First Aid Kit Four-day supply of prescription medicines Pet food and additional water for household pets
Suggest that homeowners be aware of certain parts of their home get much colder if the heat is kept low? For example, unheated basement areas might get very cold particularly if they are adjacent to outside walls and windows that are not sealed well.
Ed. 12/2005 IFS-A111968 Personal lines products are underwritten and issued by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Liberty Mutual is an Equal Housing Insurer. Liberty Mutual has authorized Prudential Insurance Brokerage, Inc. or its subsidiaries, affiliates of Prudential Insurance Company of America, and certain Prudential agents to distribute its personal lines products. Liberty Mutual and Prudential Insurance Brokerage, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates are not affiliated companies.
Winter Preparedness Auto Presenter’s Name Presenter’s Position
What should you keep clear of debris in order to prevent an ice dam?
Answer – Your gutters
Clean your gutters safely!
Lots of serious falls occur when homeowners do not take proper precautions. If you’re uncomfortable working at heights, you don’t have proper ladders, or you don’t know how to use them safely, have a professional clean your gutters.