Are you ready for the Big Freeze?
Probably not but are you mostly ready. Have you done those things that are simple to do?
For instance: Have you secured your outside faucets. Most Pennsylvania outside faucets are not protected against freezing.
First—Disconnect the garden hose, the one that’s been sitting there since summer. The hose could prevent water from draining from the faucet which will lead to problems in freezing weather.
Second—turn off any valves inside the house that lead exclusively to an outside faucet—then go outside and open that faucet and leave it open all winter.
If you can’t find a shut off valve, you might want to get a water faucet cover. They are cheap and can save you hundreds of dollars.
This is also the best time to inspect the house for cracks and gaps around door and windows and loose or missing shingles.
What about the Car? Is it ready?
The first item is the window scraper—but you’ve probably already had to use it.
This might be a good time to check the condition of tires, fluids, etc. In winter, a disabled car is not just inconvenient but can become a life-threatening situation.
Do you have a good battery? A typical car battery last 5 years. Batteries lose their strength in cold weather and if your battery is 4 years old, you might want to consider replacing it.
Each vehicle should have two emergency kits. One for the car and one for the passengers.
- Bag of sand, salt or kitty litter to assist your traction.
- Fire Extinguisher. It should be rated for Class B and Class C fires.
- Reflective warning triangles or flairs.
- Tire gauge.
- Foam tire sealant.
- Jumper cables. If you never need them, there is still a chance you will find someone who does need help.
- Small tool kit with basic screwdrivers, wrenches, plyers, utility knife and electrical tape.
- Spare wiper blades, head and tail lightbulbs.
- Tow strap or tow rope. It should be strong enough to tow 6,000 pounds.
- Small shovel.
- Charging cable for cell phone and other accessories.
- Basic First-aid kit.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Work plus winter Gloves.
- Rain poncho. Even an inexpensive plastic poncho is better than nothing when changing a tire in the pouring rain.
- Drinking water.
- Nonperishable snacks. Protein bars are a good choice.
- Blanket or sleeping bag.
- Always dress for the weather and be prepared to walk a mile.
Beware of the First Snow
I was at a restaurant in Wyoming during the first real snowfall. A person in the next booth looked out at the snow and said, “Money in my pocket.” He shook his head. “I know what is going to happen. First snow and people keep driving like it is summer.”
This was Wyoming and people drive on hard packed snow for two or three months each year. They know how to do it safely, but during the summer, they get out of the habit. They must relearn their skill.
He was a guy who ran a body shop and he made his living by repairing dented and broken vehicles.
“Money in my pocket. I don’t wish it on anyone, but I know it will happen.”