It’s been a while since Washington has experienced such cold temperatures. Some of the lows in the last two weeks were in the 20s.
You can probably predict what we are going to say next: it’s time to prepare for winter weather.
First and foremost, please keep an eye on your neighbors, friends, and family. Check in with weather forecasts periodically.
On the home front, take precautions to keep your pipes from freezing. Keep a steady drip of water running from the faucets located furthest from where your water enters your house. Keep cupboards or other doors open to expose pipes to indoor heat. Keep indoor heat on, even during vacations. Insulate pipes, particularly those on north walls. If your water stops running, your pipes are likely frozen. Use care as things thaw, and know how to shut your water off in case major leaks develop.
Now is the time when portable heaters are at full throttle. Keep them well clear of flammable materials and set them on a steady base. Use fuel-burning space heaters only with adequate ventilation. Electric space heaters should be properly grounded and make certain they are plugged into a circuit that can handle the load. Never use a gas stove, electric range or a charcoal grill as a heater.
Walk carefully on ice. Every time snow or ice appears, multiple islanders end up in the hospital due to falls. Be careful. Don’t drive unless absolutely necessary. Please don’t drive on roads that have yet to be plowed. Doing this only makes it harder for the road crews. And remember, road crews can’t clear private roads. Neighborhoods with private road access should have a plan in place to clear as needed.
When driving, leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet. Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle. Your four-wheel drive vehicle may help you get going quicker than other vehicles but it won’t help you stop any faster. Many 4×4 vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop.
If your car becomes stuck, try to get it as far off the road as possible. Cars left in the roadway may be moved or towed by emergency responders.
For more information on preparedness, visit www.sanjuandem.net.