By Stephen Charles
Berthoud Fire Chief
Cold winter weather is upon us, and with it come a variety of health and safety hazards both indoors and out. To help ensure everyone in our community stays safe and warm this season, the firefighters and staff of the Berthoud Fire Protection District offer the following tips and suggest you post them where they can be seen by your family members and co-workers.
Snow, ice and extreme cold can make winter driving treacherous. The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. More than 130,000 motor vehicle crashes occur each year as a result of sleet and snowy road conditions. Before winter, make sure your car is ready for the season with a tune-up, snow tires or tires with good tread, a charged battery and sufficient antifreeze and a supply of windshield washer fluid. Before leaving on a long trip or a trip across town, fill your tank with gasoline.
It is important in the event of becoming stranded that you are prepared for an emergency by carrying the following equipment in your car: including but not to be limited to a cell phone, flashlight (with extra batteries), small array of tools, jumper cables, snow chains, sand or kitty litter, ice scraper/snow brush, small shovel, blankets and warning devices (flares or reflectors). For longer trips carry high-energy food to include canned fruit or nuts, non-electric can opener, bottled water, extra blankets and any required medication. Of course, if you must travel in severe weather and road conditions, drive slowly and let someone know your route of travel and anticipated time of arrival time.
Watch the local weather during this time of the year. When an arriving storm is announced, attempt to get to the market to pick up those last-minute supplies you may need for the storm’s duration; i.e. medications, baby food, milk, etc.
Carbon monoxide kills. Don’t sit in a parked vehicle with the engine running unless a window is open. Don’t warm up your car in the garage. If your car is outside, make sure the exhaust pipe and the area around it are free of snow. If you are stopped or stalled, place warning devices at each end of the car for visibility to oncoming traffic. Stay in your vehicle and open a window slightly. Wrap yourself in blankets to stay warm. Run your engine and heater for about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm.