Eight Things to Remember During Winter Weather

Winter weather is upon us. Here are some important things to remember during winter weather. Don’t forget to follow the links for more information. 

Number One: A little preparation goes a long way

What you do before winter weather strikes can make all the difference. Winterizing your home and stocking your emergency kits can make riding out a storm much easier and safer. 

Caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows and installing storm windows or covering them with plastic can help keep cold air out of your home. Making sure gutters are clean and repairing the roof can help prevent leaks. Insulating pipes and allowing faucets to drip a little during cold weather is also a good idea. 

•    Get more tips to winterize your home

Extra Supplies

You may not be home during a winter storm, so make sure you are prepared if you get stranded at home, work, or on the road. Some basic supplies include enough food and water for 72 hours, flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, and alternate power for important devices such as cell phones. 

In your vehicle, you also want to make sure you have jumper cables, cat litter for better tire traction, ice scraper, cell phone charger and flares or reflective triangles. 

•    Get more tips to build a kit

Number Two: Only use safe heating sources

Using unsafe heating sources inside your home can put you and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 
Never use portable heating devices that run on gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal inside your home. Make sure generators outside your home are at least twenty feet from doors, windows and vents.

Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home and have your furnace checked to ensure it’s working properly.

•    Get more tips on safe heating

Number Three: Shovel your sidewalk

Sidewalk Shoveling PSA

Shoveling your sidewalk helps ensure safe passage for pedestrians, including children walking to school and people with disabilities. Once the snow has stopped falling, residents have twenty-four (24) hours and businesses have until 5 p.m. the following day, to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property.

Don’t forget to take breaks while shoveling snow, and lend a helping hand to neighbors who may not be able to shovel their own sidewalks. 

You can also help the fire department by clearing show from around fire hydrants near your home.

Number Four: Don’t be a “puffer”

Puffing is when a person leaves their vehicle running and unattended. It’s tempting to do when warming up your vehicle on cold days or making a quick run into the gas station or convince store.  But puffing makes you an easy target for thieves. It only takes a couple of seconds for a thief to steal your car or something from inside it.

If you park your vehicle inside a garage, make sure to pull out of the garage immediately after starting it even if the garage door is open to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Check to make sure exhaust is clear of snow when vehicles are parked outside. 

Number Five: Give snow plows plenty of room

Snow Plow Safety 2017 #1

Snow plow drivers have a limited field of vision. You may be able to see them, but they might not see you. Like all vehicles, snow plows can slide on slippery roads. Make sure not to follow too closely while going up hills and be careful when passing. When plows are working in tandem, never try to get around them by passing between them. 

To keep snow and ice control at a reasonable cost, the City has to prioritize the order streets are treated. There are primary and secondary snow routes to address our city’s emergency routes, major thoroughfares and streets connecting neighborhoods to the major thoroughfares. 

•    Learn more about snow plowing 

Number Six: If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle

If you can, it’s always best to stay off roads during and right after a winter storm. If you do have to go out, make sure to let someone know your destination and the route you expect to drive. Dress warmly and have an emergency kit in your vehicle.

If you get stranded, move your vehicle to the side of the road. Do not try to walk to safety unless help is visible within 100 yards. You could become disoriented in blowing snow. Instead stay with your vehicle.  This will make it easier for rescuers to find you. You can hang a distress flag from your window or antenna. 

Protect yourself from possible carbon monoxide poisoning by opening a downwind window slightly while your vehicle is running. Periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. 

•    Get more safe driving tips

Number Seven: Don’t forget the pets

Pets get cold too! Bring your furry friends inside when the temperature drops. Move livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water. 

Wipe your dog’s paws. Ice-melting chemicals can make your pet sick or cause irritation to their skin and mouth.
Make a plan with your neighbor to care for your pets in case you get caught away from home during a winter storm. You can do the same for them.

Number Eight: Report downed trees

Who you need to contact in order to report a fallen tree or branch depends on where it it. Here's a quick reference list.
  • For trees or branches that are blocking the road call 385-ROAD. If it is an emergency, you can call the Colorado Springs Police Department's Dispatch at 719-444-7000.
  • For fallen trees and branches in City rights of way or in parks, trails and open spaces, call the City forestry department at 385-TREE
  • Trees or branches that have fallen on power lines or transformers should be reported to Colorado Springs Utilities at 448-4800.
  • Fallen trees and branches on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.