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Posted on: January 10, 2024

Winter Preparedness Tips

Image of a cold weather warning sign against a snowy background.

As the cold temperatures make their way home to Northwest Arkansas, preparing for extreme cold becomes paramount. Keeping yourself warm and safe in these frigid conditions is crucial. Here are essential tips to maintain personal warmth:

Layer Clothing: Dress in layers using moisture-wicking fabrics as a base, insulating materials like fleece or wool for warmth, and a waterproof outer layer to shield against wind and moisture.

Cover Exposed Skin: Protect your head, hands, and face by wearing hats, gloves, scarves, and masks, as these areas are particularly susceptible to frostbite. 

Stay Dry: Change out of wet clothes promptly to prevent heat loss. Use waterproof gear if expecting snow or rain.

Proper Footwear: Keep your feet warm and dry with insulated and waterproof boots, and consider moisture-wicking socks.

Stay Hydrated and Nourished: Maintain body heat by drinking fluids and consuming high-energy foods. Warm beverages like tea or soup can help raise body temperature.

Travel Precautions: Ensure your vehicle is winter-ready with good tires, antifreeze, and a full tank of gas. Carry a charged phone, emergency kit, extra clothing, blankets, high-calorie snacks, and a first-aid kit in extreme conditions. In addition to the essentials, consider including items such as a flashlight, ice scraper, small shovel, traction aids (like sand or kitty litter), and extra fuel in case of unexpected delays or emergencies. Always inform someone of your travel plans and anticipated route, especially in inclement weather.

Recognize Warning Signs: Learn the signs of hypothermia and frostbite, seeking immediate shelter and medical attention for symptoms like shivering, confusion, numbness, or pale skin.

Limit Outdoor Exposure: Restrict outdoor exposure to mitigate the risk of excessive sweating, which can potentially lead to hypothermia. It is recommended to minimize sweating whenever possible. If unavoidable, individuals should promptly seek indoor shelter and change into dry clothing to prevent the onset of hypothermia.

Don't forget, safeguarding your home from the extreme cold is crucial to prevent frozen pipes. Pipes can freeze due to rapid temperature drops, insufficient insulation, or low thermostat settings, leading to the risk of bursting, flooding, and structural damage.

Here are actionable tips to prevent frozen pipes and protect your home:

Disconnect and Drain Outside Hoses: Prevent freezing, leaks, and breakage by disconnecting and draining outdoor hoses. Remember to store them safely to prevent freezing and splitting.

Check and Repair Outdoor Faucets: Inspect outdoor faucets for leaks or drips and repair them promptly to avoid freezing.

Close and Drain Exterior Water Lines: If your home has an interior shut-off valve for outside faucets, close it and drain the water. Knowing the location of your main shut-off valve is crucial in case of a water leak or emergency.

Insulate and Cover Outside Faucets: Use faucet insulation kits or wrap exposed pipes with materials like heat tape, foam rubber sleeves, or fiberglass insulation, especially when temperatures drop below freezing.

Apply Heat Tape: Use heat tape around exposed pipes to provide additional insulation and prevent freezing.

Allow a Steady Stream of Water: Keep a small, steady flow of hot and cold water running overnight in sinks and tubs with supply pipes along exterior walls to reduce the risk of freezing.

Open Cabinet Doors: For vulnerable pipes, open cabinet doors to expose them to warmer indoor temperatures. Alternatively, allow a slight trickle of water to run from indoor faucets on exterior walls during extreme cold snaps.

Additionally, take measures to protect your water meter by ensuring its lid is intact and covered with insulation to prevent freezing. Close garage doors to provide extra protection to any water lines within the garage area.

Remember, as the cold weather sets in across NWA, prioritize bringing your pets indoors to ensure their safety amidst dropping temperatures, and don’t forget to check on your neighbors. 

Taking these proactive steps will not only keep you warm but also safeguard your home from potential frozen pipe disasters during extreme cold snaps.

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