12 Days of Holiday Safety: Day 3 = Winter Safety

December 16, 2013

If it’s December in Wisconsin, cold, snow, and ice go with the territory. Our 3rd day of holiday safety offers reminders on potential hazards and how to counter them.
Heating & Ventilation
Keep the area around gas meter equipment clear of snow and ice. Heavy snow and ice from above that could fall on the meter should be removed to avoid potential equipment damage and a gas leak. The snow and ice near the meter should be carefully moved by hand to avoid equipment damage that could be caused by a shovel.
Furnace and water heater vent pipes that run outside the home need to be clear of snow and ice. Blocked pipes can shut down the furnace or water heater and lead to a carbon monoxide build up inside the home. The same rule applies to snow buildup around vehicle exhaust pipes.
Wisconsin state law requires carbon monoxide alarms in all residences. The law applies to any dwellings with fuel burning appliances, fireplaces, or attached garages. Alarms must be installed in the basement, and on each floor level.
If you suspect a gas leak, leave the area immediately and call MGE at 252-1111 day or night.
Hydrants
In order to prevent unneeded delays during a fire emergency, take the time to clear snow from around hydrants near your home - a minimum of 3 feet on each side to give firefighters the quickest and best access. The best time to do it is right after the snowfall, before snow gets packed down. Please consider adopting a fire hydrant close to you, and keeping it clear of snow throughout the winter.

Frozen Pipes
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
Never use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
Winter Driving
Slow down! This DOT Video is a vivid reminder of the dangers of driving too fast for conditions. To protect yourself if your vehicle crashes or slides off the road, the Wisconsin State Patrol advises drivers and passengers to stay inside their vehicles if at all possible, with your seatbelt fastened.

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