Preparing For Winter Weather And Keeping Pets Safe

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

ROCKLIN, Calif. (Air1 News - George Rath) Winter is already taking its toll in many parts of the country. Now is the time to prepare for a winter emergency on the road or at home. The Federal Highway Administration reports 24 percent of weather-related crashes happen on snowy, slushy or icy roads. AAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommend having a complete emergency road kit that includes things like blankets, food, water, medications, sand or cat litter -- in case you need traction out of ice or snow, an ice scraper for the windows and of course a car charger for your cellphone. Other considerations for the car would be hats, gloves, a flashlight, even a shovel. These things should be put in your vehicle before you go on any trip.

FEMA even recommends winterizing your car by making sure antifreeze levels are sufficient, battery and ignition systems are working properly along with the car’s heater and defroster. One of the most important safety features would be good winter tires with adequate tread. In some areas snow tires with studs are optional, but experts advise to and always carry chains for your vehicle.

While you’re driving, AAA says drive defensively always watching your surroundings on the road. Keep windows clear and turn on your headlights even in daylight. If you go into a skid, instead of hitting the breaks or gas pedal, just look and steer in the direction you want the car to go.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remind us that signs of frostbite usually start on the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Those signs include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness. If you start to see or feel the effects it’s best to get into a warm room as soon as possible. Do not massage the frostbitten area. That can increase the damage. Put the affected areas in warm water, not hot. The CDC warns not to use a heat pad, heat lamp or the heat of a stove or fireplace to warm up. Numb areas can be easily burned.

And here’s something we don’t always realize…if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep animals inside. Dogs, cats and other animals can be susceptible to frostbite, hypothermia, and get disoriented or lost if left outside. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has some guidelines that include never shaving your dog to the skin during winter months. If you walk your dog, realize chemicals used on roadways for melting ice or snow can be dangerous if they are licked off their paws. Take a towel to wipe off your dog. Leaving your pet in the car can quickly lead to dangerously cold conditions. And make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, preferably off the floor, away from any outside drafts.

Be prepared for anything, and have a safe winter.

(AAA, FEMA and the ASPCA contributed information for this story.)


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