Preparing for Winter Weather
October Safety Tips
By Fred Toler, CSP
Winter is here! When the seasons change, it is a promising idea to conduct an inspection of your home and property so that you can discover and fix any small issues before they develop into problems that may potentially damage your home, threaten your family’s safety, and create financial stress. To help you conduct a thorough inspection, Champion has created the following checklist. Following this list and familiarizing yourself with the tips it contains will give you peace of mind knowing you have done everything possible to prepare your property for the challenges of winter. And while this checklist is written for those who live in colder climates, it contains valuable home maintenance tips for everyone.
Weatherproof your home.
- Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so they will be less likely to freeze.
- Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Insulate your walls and attic.
- Install storm or thermal-pane windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
- Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structures during a storm.
- Have your chimney or flue inspected each year.
- If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one online.
- Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.
- If you will be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Evaluate them monthly and replace batteries twice a year.
- Keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.
- Each winter season have your furnace system and vent checked by a qualified technician to ensure they are functioning properly.
For older adults, keep an easy-to-read thermometer inside your home.
- Check the temperature of your home often during the winter months. If you or a loved one is over 65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently. Our ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age. Older adults are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold.
Listen to weather forecasts and check your supplies.
- Listen to weather forecasts regularly and check your emergency supplies, including your emergency food and water supply, whenever you are expecting a winter storm or extreme cold. Even though we cannot always predict extreme cold in advance, weather forecasts can sometimes give you several days of notice to prepare.
Bring your pets indoors when it gets cold.
- If you have pets, bring them indoors. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to unfrozen water.
Get your car ready.
Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends. In addition, every fall, do the following:
- Have the radiator system serviced or check the antifreeze level yourself with an antifreeze tester. Add antifreeze as needed.
- Replace windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture.
- Make sure the tires on your car have adequate tread and air pressure. Replace any worn tires and fill low tires with air to the proper pressure recommended for your car (typically between 30-35 psi).
- Keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Keep your car in good working order. Be sure to check the following: heater, defroster, brakes, brake fluid, ignition, emergency flashers, exhaust, oil, and battery.
Create an emergency car kit.
It is best to avoid traveling during stormy weather, but sometimes travel is necessary, so keep the following in your car:
- Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries
- Items to stay warm such as extra hats, coats, mittens, and blankets
- Windshield scraper
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Water and snack food
- First aid kit with any necessary medications and a pocketknife
- Tow chains or rope
- Tire chains
- Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
- Cat litter or sand to help tires get traction, or road salt to melt ice
- Booster cables with fully charged battery or jumper cables
- Hazard or other reflectors
- Bright colored flag or help signs, emergency distress flag, and/or emergency flares
- Road maps
- Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water
Stormy winter weather can present challenges but by investing just a little time conducting a seasonal inspection of your home and property you can rest assured that you have taken steps to provide your family with a safe, warm environment. By providing you with this checklist and information tips, Champion hopes to help you achieve that peace of mind.
Crew of the Month: Chemical Lab Equipment Relocation Crew
Oyster Creek, NJ
Last month, Champion successfully relocated critical lab equipment from the RX Building to the new Chemical Laboratory located behind the OCAB. The project was completed without safety incidents or damage to the highly specialized equipment. Earlier this year, starting in May, the supervisor and crew prepared for this rigorous work by performing multiple walkdowns which informed the development of a plan to safely transfer the lab equipment. The most challenging aspects of the project included the weight, shape, and extreme sensitivity of the objects to be moved. The equipment included:
- Two large liquid scintillation detectors were used for tritium analysis.
- Two gamma spectroscopy detectors with associated power supplies
- Computers and accessories
- The weighing table for the analytical balances
- The source safe
- Full containers of cryogenic liquid
The travel path included multiple staircases, several doors, and rugged terrain. A questioning attitude, expert judgment, and careful coordination with other crews (RP, equipment vendor, and chemistry techs) were instrumental in the successful completion of this project. We are extremely proud of the crew who completed this difficult and complex job with a Champion attitude.
Chemical Lab Equipment Relation Crew
(left to right) Gabe Johnston (DT), Zach Allard (Superintendent),
Darrick Eli (DT), Mark Grabkowski (CA), Ron Dibble (GF), and Austin Crawford (DT).