Cold weather safety tips and reminders

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 8:48 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - With cold conditions arriving early, staying warm is likely at the top of your mind.

Roanoke County Fire and Rescue has a few tips and reminders to help families stay safe and warm, as temperatures continue to drop.

Officials say the first reminder is to layer up. Temperatures fluctuate a lot this time of year, so they say it’s important to wear multiple layers.

“Stay hydrated. I know that’s something we talk about a lot during the summer months, but very important in the winter months, too. And wear those layers because again, the weather kind of changes while we’ve got very cold nights and mornings. It can warm up briefly later in the day. So if you wear lots of layers, it kind of gives you the flexibility then to take off a layer later in the day if you need to,” said Brian Clingenpeel, community outreach coordinator of Roanoke County Fire and Rescue.

Emergency officials also say to make sure your vehicle is winter-ready as well:

1. Check your battery

2. Check your fluids (coolant, wiper fluid, oil, etc,)

3. Check your tires

4. Have jumper cables

5. Pack a blanket (maybe some non-perishable snacks too) in case you run into any kind of emergency during the colder months

Clingenpeel also encourages families to warm up their vehicles outside and not in the garage.

“We never want to warm the car in the garage, because then you’re filling your home with carbon monoxide. Always a good idea to have a carbon monoxide alarm. If you’ve got an attached garage, if you have a natural gas stove or oven or hot water heater or fireplace logs or anything like that. You need to have a carbon monoxide alarm,” said Clingenpeel.

When heating your home, officials have a few more reminders and safety tips:

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.

• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

• Never use your oven to heat your home.

• Have a professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a professional.

• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.

• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

• Test smoke alarms monthly.

For more heating safety tips you can visit the NFPA’s website.