OKLAHOMA – OKFB Insurance is sharing important safety tips to help Oklahoma residents prepare as winter approaches. With the excitement of changing seasons and the holidays also comes the potential for severe winter storms, power outages and road closures. When temperatures begin to fall, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect your home and family.
“It can be easy to wait and take precautions for winter until after a storm warning has been issued, but adequately preparing your home before the snow and ice fall can save money and time. Most importantly, it can keep families safe from freezing temperatures, fire dangers and health and safety concerns,” said Gary Buckner, executive vice president and general manager of OKFB Insurance. “The best way to prevent safety issues during the winter season is preparation.”
Prepare a kit to have on-hand during an emergency. Battery-operated flashlights, extra batteries, a shovel, a fully-charged portable phone charger, a first-aid kit, warm blankets and coats, an emergency radio and sand for icy walkways are all useful items in case a storm necessitates sheltering at home. Flashlights and battery-powered lanterns are safer options than candles to prevent fires. Additionally, the emergency kit should include food that does not need to be cooked or refrigerated and water stored in clean containers. Make sure to check the food regularly to ensure it has not expired, and visit the CDC website for more information about preparing food and water before a disaster.
Winterize your home before temperatures drop and regularly check the weather forecast. Installing storm windows, weather stripping, and insulation for walls and attics keeps the cold air outside. If a local forecast calls for icy conditions, drip all water taps, insulate water lines that run along exterior walls and open cabinet doors beneath sinks to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting. Lastly, clear out rain gutters, repair roof leaks and trim any tree branches that could fall and damage a powerline, car or home in the event of a storm.
Use cooking and heating systems safely and have your home regularly inspected. Heating systems should be serviced by a qualified technician every year and tested before winter to ensure they are clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside. Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys once a year and keep alternate sources of heat, like portable space heaters, on hand in the event of a power failure. All portable heaters should be kept away from flammable materials, such as curtains and blankets, and have automatic shut-off switches. Lastly, carbon monoxide exposures and poisonings occur more frequently in the fall and winter months with the use of gas furnaces and heaters. Always keep a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in the home, conduct yearly maintenance on gas-burning home appliances and never use generators, grills, unvented gas and wood-burning stoves or unvented fireplaces inside a house.
Check your OKFB Insurance plan to learn more about coverage options that protect against winter hazards. Talk to your local OKFB agent today and visit OKFB Insurance for more information on our policies.
About Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance
Since 1946, OKFB Insurance has worked to protect Oklahomans from the risks they face every day, whether it be home, auto, life, commercial or farm & ranch. With agents in all 77 counties, we are ready to serve our neighbors at a moment’s notice and are committed to helping our 140,000+ member families to insure their future. To learn more, visit http://www.okfbinsurance.com.