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Winter Safety Tips for Weather and Fire

by Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association

Dec 20, 2018

It’s that time of year where kids rejoice and have high hopes for that big winter storm with a foot of snow and a long list of school closings, but what dangers are hidden in these fluffy white flakes?

When the temperatures drop we all need to raise our awareness of potential dangers of winter weather. Everything from driving conditions, shoveling snow to power outages can cause injury or worse.

Here are a few helpful tips to help keep you safe this winter season:

  • First thing to do is pay attention to updated weather reports.
  • Dress appropriately for conditions, layers of clothing help you to adjust as temperatures change.
  • Protect your extremities, hat, gloves, warm socks and boots.
  • Place extra blankets, food, water, ice scrapers and an emergency shovel in your vehicle.
  • Within your home keep extra non perishable foods, water, LED lanterns/flashlights and extra batteries.

Cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure. It can make blood clot more easily and constrict arteries, which decreases blood supply. This is true even in healthy people. Individuals over the age of 40 or who are relatively inactive should be particularly careful.

National Safety Council recommends the following tips to shovel safely:

  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking.
  • Take it slow and stretch out before you begin.
  • Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; it’s lighter.
  • Push the snow rather than lifting it.
  • If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion.
  • Refuel your snow blower when it is off, never when it is running.

According to The National Safety Council, carbon monoxide detectors save lives, but less than one-third of American homes have one installed. With December and January at the peak of CO poisonings, check out our fact sheet and be sure to follow tips like these:

  • Replace the battery for your home’s CO detector and smoke alarms each spring and fall.
  • Do not heat your home with a gas range or oven.
  • Never run a car or truck inside an attached garage.

To prevent fires be sure to exercise caution when heaters fail or during power outages.

  • Remember space heaters need plenty of space.
  • Candles and open flames can be dangerous during a gas leak.
  • Place LED lanterns and flashlights around your home.
  • Have an extra power source for mobile phones.
  • Stock up on ready to eat foods.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher at the ready.
  • Use solar blankets for extra warmth.
  • Keep anything that can burn, children and pets at least 3 feet from any fireplace or space heater.
  • Store lighters and matches out of the reach of children, in a locked cabinet.
  • Crack open a window for a fresh supply of air near heaters and fireplaces.
  • Allow at lest 15 minutes for devices to cool down prior to refueling.

More information can be found online at and at

This article has been written to provide basic information to warn the public about common fraud, scams and safety concerns by the Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association (PCPOA) a non-profit 501c(3) In cooperation with Crime Alert Berks County. For more information please visit our website at

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