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Your Survival Guide to This Week's Winter Woes

The precautionary measures you should take.

Yes, winter is here and it's going to be cold all week.
Yes, winter is here and it's going to be cold all week.
It's going to be cold this week and means we need to pay attention to two things: Our homes and driving our cars. Justin Tomczak, State Farm's Georgia spokesman, offers this tips.:

With temperatures predicted to drop into the teens and severe winter weather looming, Georgia residents should use take precautionary measures, both inside their homes, and if they venture out onto the roads. Everyone should take a few minutes to check the pipes in your home. The frigid temperatures expected next week can cause pipes to freeze and burst, destroying floors, furniture, appliances and treasured family heirlooms. A few simple precautionary measures can help avoid the headache and aggravation caused by water damage.

A small crack in a pipe can leak water at a volume of 14 gallons a minute causing thousands of dollars in damage in a very short period of time. In most cases, water losses can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions. Spending a few minutes to protect your pipes could save you time and expense down the road.

Beat the Freeze
 - Minimize the chance your pipes will freeze by insulating pipes in unheated areas and those that run along outside walls, floors and ceilings. Disconnect outside garden hoses and seal foundation cracks that let arctic air freeze pipes in crawlspaces. A few simple tasks can help protect pipes and homes when a severe freeze is predicted: 
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to piping under sinks and vanities near exterior walls.
  • Run a small trickle of water from hot and cold faucets during extreme cold.
  • Keep exterior doors to unheated spaces closed as much as possible during winter months.
  • If you are taking a short trip or own a business that will be unoccupied for more than 24 hours, make arrangements to have the dwelling checked regularly during severe cold spells. Discovering a burst pipe or water leak quickly can prevent excessive damage.
  • Install a whole house water leak detection system. For a list of manufacturers visit: http://www.statefarm.com/learning/loss_prevent/learning_loss_water_leak_det_system.asp
  • DANGEROUS DRIVING CONDITIONS ALSO EXPECTED
    Winter driving conditions can turn treacherous in an instant. Snow, ice, poor visibility, and extreme cold can disable your vehicle or make roads impassable. Even on a relatively short trip, you can find yourself stranded for several hours. It's important to plan ahead for such a situation.

    Follow Winter Driving Recommendations 
    - Winter driving has its own set of challenges, from the moment you start up your vehicle. Here are some useful winter driving suggestions:
    • Never warm up your vehicle in a closed garage.
    • Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent gas line freeze-up.
    • Make sure your exhaust pipe is not clogged with mud or snow.
    • Don't use cruise control on icy roads.
    • Allow more time for braking when visibility is poor.
    • Stay calm if you start to skid.
    • Carry Emergency Supplies - In addition to the just-in-case items you should always have in your vehicle, such as jumper cables (and learn how to jump-start your car safely,) tire-changing tools, flashlight, and first aid kit, be sure to include these winter essentials:
      • Small folding shovel
      • Tow and tire chains
      • Basic tool kit
      • Bag of road salt or cat litter
      • Windshield wiper fluid
      • Antifreeze
      • Warning flares
      • Pack a Survival Kit - In case you're ever marooned in your vehicle, you might want to keep a small survival kit on hand, in case of emergencies. Some useful items include:
        • Compass
        • Ice scraper and brush
        • Wooden matches
        • High-energy, non-perishable food
        • Cell phone charger
        • Blankets and warm clothing
        • Stay Calm if Stranded - If a winter storm strands you with your vehicle, follow these tips:
          • Pull off the highway, if possible, turn on your hazard lights or light flares, and hang a distress flag from an antenna or window.
          • Call 911 if you have a phone and describe your location as precisely as possible.
          • Remain in your vehicle so help can find you.
          • Run your vehicle's engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
          • Exercise a little to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion and sweating.
          • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
          • Conserve your vehicle's battery. Use lights, heat, and radio sparingly.
          • At night, turn on an inside light when you run the engine so help can see you.
          • See more at: http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/safety-2/auto-2/worst-case-winter-driving-survival/#sthash.rJbO2Mj5.dpuf

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