WNC -- As the winter season approaches, it's essential to prepare your home and family for the challenges that colder weather can bring.

Winter preparedness is crucial to ensure your safety and comfort during the coldest months of the year. In this article, we will discuss recommendations for home preparedness, heating, safeguarding your home while away, winter food storage, protecting your pets from cold weather, and recommendations for travel and driving during winter. Additionally, we will cover important precautions to take during a winter storm to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Home Preparedness

Insulate your home: Ensure your home is well-insulated to prevent drafts and heat loss. Seal any gaps in windows and doors to keep the cold air out and warm air in.
Check your heating system: Before winter arrives, have your heating system serviced to make sure it's running efficiently and safely. Replace air filters and consider installing a programmable thermostat to optimize energy usage.
Stock up on emergency supplies: Create an emergency kit that includes flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, water, a first aid kit, and blankets. These supplies can be a lifesaver in case of power outages or other emergencies.


Use space heaters safely: If you use space heaters, place them on a level, non-flammable surface and keep them away from curtains, furniture, and other flammable materials. Turn them off when leaving the room.
Maintain your fireplace: If you have a fireplace, ensure it's cleaned and inspected regularly to prevent chimney fires. Use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from escaping.
Safeguarding Your Home While Away

Set your thermostat: If you plan to be away for an extended period, set your thermostat to a lower but not freezing temperature to prevent frozen pipes and excessive energy use.
Install a smart security system: Consider investing in a smart security system that allows you to monitor your home remotely and receive alerts for any unusual activity.
Winter Food Storage

Stock up on non-perishables

Ensure you have an adequate supply of canned goods, dried foods, and other non-perishable items. These items can sustain you during power outages or when you can't leave your home due to extreme weather conditions.
Rotate your pantry: Regularly check the expiration dates on your non-perishable food items and rotate them to ensure freshness.
Protecting Your Pets from Cold Weather

Bring pets indoors: Cold weather can be dangerous for pets. Ensure your furry friends have a warm and sheltered place to stay during the winter months.
Use pet-safe antifreeze: If you use antifreeze in your vehicle, make sure it's the pet-safe variety. The sweet taste of regular antifreeze can be appealing to pets but is extremely toxic.
Recommendations for Travel and Driving

Winterize your vehicle Before the first snowfall, make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter driving. Check your tires, brakes, antifreeze, and ensure your windshield wipers are in good condition.
Keep an emergency kit in your car: Equip your vehicle with an emergency kit that includes items like blankets, a flashlight, non-perishable food, water, and a shovel.
Recommendations During a Winter Storm

Stay informed: Keep an eye on weather forecasts and stay informed about any upcoming storms or severe weather conditions.

Stay indoors  If a winter storm is approaching, it's safer to stay indoors. Avoid unnecessary travel, and postpone outdoor activities until the weather improves.

Keep faucets dripping

To prevent frozen pipes, let faucets drip slightly during extremely cold weather.
Dress in layers: When you have to go outside, dress in warm, layered clothing to protect yourself from the cold. Don't forget a hat, gloves, and a scarf.

Winter preparedness is essential for keeping your home and family safe during the coldest months of the year. By following these recommendations, you can ensure that your home is well-prepared for the winter season, and you can stay safe and comfortable in the face of cold weather, storms, and other challenges that winter may bring. Remember that the key to winter safety is being proactive and prepared.


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