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November 9, 2013

From the Office: Don't put off getting ready for winter any longer

We’ve had a beautiful fall and I, for one, have been tempted to put off thinking about winter. We all know, though, unless you just moved here from warmer climes, that winter will indeed arrive and that it is important to be ready and take steps to be safe. I keep waiting for that last sunny, not too cold weekend day to put the hoses and planters away and get the driveway markers out. Hopefully by the time you are reading this, these things have been accomplished.

If you drive, make sure you car is ready. Have the antifreeze, tires and windshield wipers checked. Make sure the windshield cleaner reservoir is filled with fluid that does not freeze. Get your snow brush/scraper out and in the car. Keep a blanket, flashlight and some emergency supplies in the car. Keep your gas tank more than half full. Don’t drive in bad weather unless you have to, and keep an eye out for icy patches.

Keeping steps, walks and driveways clear of ice and snow can seem an endless task. If you clear your own, check with your health care provider to make sure it is safe to do so. When it’s cold, your heart works harder to keep you warm and exertion caused by shoveling can put extra strain on your heart. Shoveling also puts strain on your back, knees, shoulders etc. If you do shovel, warm up first, and push instead of lifting the snow. If you need to lift, do it in small batches and take frequent breaks. If you have someone shovel for you, try to make arrangements for the person to come any time it snows.

Stock up. Buy extra canned goods and easy-to-prepare foods when they are on sale. Keep some bottled water on hand for emergencies. Make sure you have working flashlights and fresh batteries. Candles are an option, but they also pose a safety risk and should not be left unattended while burning.

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