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Tips for winter safety

Winter began on Dec. 21, 2019, and extends to March 19, in the Northern Hemisphere. These three months can be both beautiful to behold and difficult to endure.

Winter has its share of safety hazards, and extra effort may be required to protect one’s health and well-being when the chill creeps in. In recognition of that, the National Safety Council and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer these winter safety tips.

1. Winterize your home to keep interior temperatures comfortable and prevent weather-related damage. Winterizing includes insulating water lines that run along exterior walls, cleaning out gutters, installing weather stripping, and replenishing insulation.

2. Exercise in cold temperatures can put many people at risk of heart attack — especially those who are typically inactive. If you must exercise in cold weather, remember to stretch beforehand. Take breaks when shoveling or ask for help.

3. Check carbon monoxide alarms to see if they are working properly. Every year in the United States, more than 400 people die from and 50,000 are treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Exhaust from improperly vented heating appliances can contribute to carbon monoxide sickness.

4. Prepare a winter emergency kit and keep it in your car in case you are stranded in inclement weather. The kit can include food, water, blankets, first-aid supplies, flares and booster cables, among other items.

5. Wear appropriate clothing for the temperature and precipitation. Layers can be added or removed as needed.

6. Sprinkle sand or cat litter on icy patches of walkways to improve traction. Sand or cat litter is easier on the environment than some chemical ice melt products.

7. Consider a whole-house generator as an emergency backup if the power goes out in winter. Generators can keep the heat running and the refrigerator humming along until power is restored.

8. Exercise caution with space heaters and other supplemental heating devices. Turn them off when you leave the room, and do not leave them on overnight while you are sleeping.

9. Slow down when driving in the snow. Black ice patches can be difficult to see, and snow itself can reduce tire traction. Leave extra time to get where you need to be.

10. Consider switching from gloves to mittens. With fingers touching each other inside mittens, they help generate more body heat than when they’re inside gloves.

These are just a few safety tips to heed during winter.