It’s that time of year again; time for warm fires, hot chocolate and snow-covered pine trees. It’s also the time of year when sidewalks are icy. Winter is a beautiful season, but it can be hazardous too!
No matter what your age, the winter months make outdoor activities challenging, so when the weather permits it’s especially important for older adults to take advantage of warmer, dry days. Here are some safety precautions to keep in mind.
- Use caution when driving and walking outside, and be alert for black ice and slippery leaves.
- Try to spend your time outdoors around 2 and 3 p.m., when temperatures are warmest. Avoid being outdoors after dark.
- When going for a walk, walk into the wind first so that the walk home will be easier, and you’ll be sure to have enough energy.
- Dress warmly and in lots of layers. Put extra layers on your hands and feet, and wear a scarf and a hat that covers your ears. Hand and foot warmers can also be purchased at many stores.
- Stay hydrated! If you are walking, working or playing outside your body still needs water, but you may not realize it because of the cold.
- Make sure that a close friend, family member or neighbor knows where you are at all times.
Home safety is equally as important during the winter months. When you’re cranking up the thermostat or starting a crackling fire, make sure to follow these guidelines.
- Space heaters and kerosene heaters should be kept at least three feet from anything flammable, such as furniture, curtains, clothing and blankets. Keep heaters out of reach of pets and children, and always turn them off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Have fireplace chimneys professionally inspected each year and make sure that chimney flues are open before starting a fire and screens are firmly in place to catch embers.
- Burn only hard woods, never cardboard, trash or Christmas trees.
Install carbon monoxide detectors in every sleeping area and have your heating system inspected annually. According to the Home Safety Council, about 300 people die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning (www.homesafetycouncil.org).
By following these tips, you can enjoy the beauty of winter and give you and your family peace of mind, so enjoy that cup of hot chocolate by the fire!
To learn more about how Liberty at Home can help you with winter safety, both inside and outside the home, contact Dana O’Donnell at 215-643-6335 ext. 147.