We’re in the midst of a deep freeze in the northeast, with wind chills below zero. These frigid temperatures can be dangerous for many reasons. Freezing temps can cause frostbite and hypothermia to those not properly protected from the weather. Icy driving conditions can wreak havoc on highways and cause auto accidents. Bursting pipes can cause damage to your home. As the temperature dips, carbon monoxide poisoning is also more common. Here are five tips to stay safe in freezing temps and better protect you and your family from the elements this winter.

  1. Dress warmly with layers

    Stay indoors during severe weather conditions if possible. If you do need to venture out, wear a hat, gloves and a scarf or mask to cover your face. Wear several layers to help insulate from the cold. Limit your time outside and be sure you stay warm and dry. Beware of slippery sidewalks and overexerting with too much shoveling. Your children may be drawn to the idea of playing in the snow, but keep them inside and warm.

  2. Protect your home

    Be sure your home is properly insulated and free of drafts. During extremely cold weather, pipes may freeze or burst. Keep your roof free of too much snow to prevent a potential collapse. Fires are quite common in the winter months, because of the use of fireplaces and methods of helping to heat your home. Never leave an open flame unattended and keep paper, trash and other flammable materials far from open flames.

  3. Beware of carbon monoxide

    Don’t run your generator inside your home. It should be outside and more than 20 feet away from windows and doors. This goes for any gas-powered engines. Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home. Don’t sleep in a room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater. Never leave your vehicle running to warm up in your garage, even if the garage door is open. It’s best to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to monitor the level of gas in the air. If you begin to feel nauseous or dizzy and suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get to fresh air and get help immediately.

  4. Prepare your vehicle for freezing temps

    Drive only if it’s absolutely necessary when the weather is bad. Be sure your car had enough gas, antifreeze wiper fluid and other fluids. Be sure your tires are in good condition. Keep a shovel and materials for traction in your trunk in case you get stuck. Keep a blanket, water and first aid kit in your vehicle as well. Be sure your cell phone is charged in case you get stuck and need to call for help. Finally, if you do need to set out during a storm, clean the snow from your car before leaving. It can be a hazard to other drivers as it blows off. Drive slowly and safely.

  5. Protect your pets

    If it’s too cold outside for you, it’s too cold for your pets too. Keep them inside. Take them out for very brief period to exercise and to relieve themselves. Animals can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite just like humans.

We hope you will follow these five tips to stay safe in freezing temps. Finally, if you have elderly neighbors, check on them to see if they need any help and to make sure they are safe and warm. Something as simple as a phone call or a quick visit can save the life of someone who does not have adequate heat or shelter from the cold. The injury attorneys at Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen want everyone to stay safe this winter.