Are you prepared for a winter emergency? Are you taking the correct steps to prevent a winter emergency? There are several ways you can prepare to keep yourself and your family safe as winter approaches in Idaho.
It’s never quite clear how harsh of a winter the Treasure Valley or Western Idaho will get hit with. However, you should always be prepared for winter storms whether you are in your car or at home. It’s a smart idea to keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle in case your car breaks down in a storm or a storm hits unexpectedly when traveling. Try to have the following in your car all winter: tire chains, blankets, water, snacks, windshield scraper, shovel, gloves, first aid kit and road flares.
If you were to find yourself broken down in severe winter conditions, make your vehicle as obvious as possible to rescuers whether by using flares or opening the hood of your car. If you are stranded and waiting for help in your car, it’s important to keep yourself warm with extra blankets and clothing. In addition, try to stay awake and moving to keep your body as warm as possible. If you suspect you could be stranded for an extended period of time, use your car heater and motor sparingly.
Before the Treasure Valley gets hit with the first snowstorm of the season, look into getting snow tires or all season tires for your vehicle. If you do not own an all-wheel drive vehicle, snow tires may be worth the investment to keep yourself and your passengers safe. Tire shops can get extremely busy during winter so look into getting winter tires sooner than later.
Even with snow tires or four-wheel drive, cars can still get stuck in the snow. Try to keep a bag of kitty litter or sand in the back of your car. In the event of getting your tires stuck in snow, lying down kitty litter behind and in front of your stuck tires can help them gain traction as you gently press on the gas.
Remember, your car needs more attention in low temperatures. Make sure you are using low temperature windshield fluid. Regular fluid will freeze on your window or freeze in the fluid compartment itself. Also, keep your gas tank as full as possible to prevent ice from forming in your tank.
It’s always smart to keep a decent supply of non-perishable food and water in your home. This food storage can be crucial in the event of an extended power outage or extreme snow storms that leave you trapped in your home or make it hard to access grocery stores. Household winter supplies like snow shovels and snow salt can sell out quickly when large snow storms hit, so stock up now.
Get your heating system inspected to ensure it is working properly. Aso, check your carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are working and have fully charged batteries. Winterize your home by adding weather stripping to windows and doors where needed, this helps keep heat in your home.
One of the most important safety tips for winter is to make sure you are properly dressed for winter conditions and limit your time exposed to extreme winter conditions. If temperatures drop in the negative range or wind chills create negative temperature affects, it’s important to wear appropriate clothing to prevent frostbite. In certain winter conditions, your skins could suffer from frostbite in less than 30 minutes.
It’s also important that during cold winter days you still consume a healthy amount of water. Though you may not feel thirsty in cold conditions, your body still needs just as much water as warm days.
Winter conditions in Nampa, Boise and the greater Idaho area can cause unpredictable medical emergencies. To prepare yourself to help someone in a life-threatening situation, check out Sawtooth Emergency Medical Institute’s CPR training course. This course teaches first aid, CPR and AED to students. STEMI also provides EMT training classes to those seeking their EMT license to help others in emergency situations. Visit our classes page to learn more.