How do you prepare for winter?
Having emergency plans and kits in place will save time when in a crisis. Either purchase or build your own car winter kit and become familiar with everything in it. Items in your kit should
include the following and more:
• Extra blankets, sleeping bags or space blankets.
• Extra warm clothing.
• A flashlight with extra batteries. (Keep in mind that there are flashlights available that will charge cell phones.)
• A first aid kit for your car.
• Survival gear. This includes a knife, high calorie and non-perishable food, candles, water-proof matches, something to melt
snow in for drinking water.
• Sanitary items like baby wipes, tissues, paper towels, garbage bags.
• Sand or cat litter for tire traction and a shovel to dig out.
• Tool kit should include tow ropes, windshield scrapers, and jumper cable.
• A compass and road maps. You may have to go another route.
• Emergency flares.
• A full tank of gas will keep ice from forming in the tank and fuel lines.
• Winterize your vehicle before winter begins. This includes having tires with good tread and carrying chains.
There are many other small things to consider as well. It is a good idea to pound the hood of your car before starting the engine. Cats and other small animals may have climbed in to seek warmth and can be injured when you start the car.
Keep in mind that not all pets are arctic breeds accustomed to harsh winter conditions. Dogs and cats can get frost-bitten just like people. This can be painful for the dogs. If the pets are not able to come in, provide appropriate shelter out of the wind that contains bedding for warmth, unfrozen clean water for them to drink, and food to eat.
Other cold-weather tips:
• Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Signs can include: violent shivering followed by listlessness, weak pulse, and lethargy. The parts of the body that are mostly exposed to the weather are more likely to get frostbitten. These include ears, tails, and feet. The treatment for frostbite is to apply warm (not hot) water soaks to the frostbitten appendage for 20 minutes but do not rub or massage those areas. Most importantly seek medical attention.
• Winter ice melting agents can be harmful to your pet. Rock salt can damage your dog’s paws. It is also harmful if they lick it off their paws. Chemical ice solvents are dangerous as well and if you do need to use them, prevent pets from walking on them. Use the pet-friendly products that can melt ice without salt. Never assume these products are safe if ingested.
• Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up any spills, store antifreeze out of reach, and double check that your car doesn’t
have a leak.
• Dogs and Cats love sleeping next to a warm fire. Screen off fireplaces so pets can’t get too close and risk being burned.
• Stock up on supplies. Winter weather can bring heavy snow or ice at any time. Keep extra pet supplies on hand.
• Keep an Emergency Kit. These can be tailored to your needs and the changing seasons. Include in the kits: emergency
food, water, blankets, flashlights, first aid supplies, medications, a weather radio, and other supplies that you would need.
By Sarah Zumhofe