Winter 101: Top Home Emergency Situations that Will Require You to Take Action

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With heavy snowfall and sometimes dangerously cold temperatures, winter can bring several different types of emergency situations. This is why people who live in cooler climates should always be prepared for potential winter catastrophes. Here are several of the most serious kinds of cold weather emergencies and what steps you can take to deal with them when they occur.

Roof Collapses

One of the hardest kinds of winter emergencies to handle is a home roof collapse due to the weight of snow or ice. In areas with heavy winter precipitation, extra weight can strain or even break roof supports. The result will be severe damage and extreme difficulty in keeping the elements out. As a first step when this happens, you should bundle yourself and your family up in warm clothing, as the heat from your home will escape quickly after a roof breach. Next, you should do whatever you can to create a temporary barrier to plug the hole in your roof. Often, a sheet of plywood is the fastest and easiest stopgap measure. Once that is done, you can call a repair service and start making arrangements for your living accommodations until the roof can be fixed.

Also Read: Basic Guide to Roof Repair During Winter

Frozen Pipes Bursting

If outdoor temperatures get sufficiently cold, they can cause water pipes to freeze. As the water expands, the pipes can burst. When the ice in them thaws, ruptured pipes can cause devastating water damage. If you notice that a pipe has become damaged in this way, you should shut off the water to your home at the main valve and call a plumber immediately. Try to keep your home as warm as possible to prevent other freezing events. In this kind of situation, it also pays to have an emergency supply of bottled water handy to hold you over until the damage is repaired.

Power Outages

Power outages are very common in the wintertime, as ice, snow, and wind can damage power lines. If you are stuck in a widespread power outage, you should call your utility company to get information about how long it will take to get your power back. In the meantime, you should bundle up and cover yourself in blankets to retain heat, as your house will get colder as an outage goes on. Some power outages will be specific to your home. These are usually caused by overloading your house’s electrical system. If you are dealing with this kind of an outage, it’s extremely useful to have the number of a 24-hour emergency electrician handy.

Being Snowed In

If your area receives heavy snowfall, there may be days that you won’t be able to safely leave your home due to poor road conditions. In order to be prepared for this eventuality, you should have an emergency supply of food, fresh water and other basic supplies stored somewhere in your home. Preparing for being snowed in is particularly important if you live in a rural or semi-rural area since snow plows likely won’t get to you until more populated areas have been taken care of.

Icey Sidewalks & Walkways

With winter comes the cold and, often, ice. When you or someone else walks onto your walkway, you don’t want it to be a serious hazard that they are facing. A fall on ice can lead to serious injuries—broken arms or legs, fractured hips, and misaligned backs. One injury can lead to months of discomfort and, even, a lengthy recovery process. To help with this, you should take measures to prevent and remove ice from the walkway leading up to your front door as well as the sidewalk leading up to it. You can do this by using ice salt. If ice is something that isn’t as preventable, you may want to lay down some birdseed to help create a grip and keep people from slipping. You can see taking such measures as protection for your family as well as everyone else who may stroll by—it is especially important to consider others in this case as injuries can lead to lawsuits.

Handling winter emergencies largely depend on how ready you are for them. With the right supplies and a good plan in place, you’ll be able to ride out the worst that winter can throw at you.

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