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article imageTop tips to cope with the U.S. winter

By Tim Sandle     Jan 7, 2014 in Lifestyle
The severe weather affecting the U.S. has been widely reported. To help those affected, the U.S. CDC has provided some advice on dealing with the wintery conditions.
The severe weather affecting parts of the U.S. has been described as "artic like" and even "life threatening" by health officials, according to the BBC. Meteorological reports indicate that the Midwest suffers lowest temperatures in two decades and that a "polar vortex" has descended on northern and central U.S.
The weather has had a significant effect on many people and the economy. For example, some 4,392 flights were cancelled and 3,577 delayed.
To help those in the U.S. deal with the harsh conditions, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided some tips for dealing with the weather.
These tips are divided into those for the home (dubbed "winterizing the home"), which includes the following:
Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
Check your heating systems.
Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside.
Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
There are also some safety tips relating to heating systems:
Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.
Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries regularly.
Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headaches, nausea, and disorientation.
Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.
Also in relation to transport:
Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires
Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. Include:
food and water;
booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
compass and maps;
flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
first-aid kit; and
plastic bags (for sanitation).
The CDC also advise people to be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages. Advice here includes:
Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps; extra batteries; first-aid kit and extra medicine; baby items; and cat litter or sand for icy walkways.
For those working outside:
Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
Be aware of the wind chill factor.
Work slowly when doing outside chores.
Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
Carry a cell phone.
In terms of travel:
Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.
Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away, but continue to move arms and legs.
Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
Keep a downwind window open.
Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.
Hopefully these top tips will help those having to deal with the unexpected and challenging conditions.
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