Ready for winter’s (next) wrath

The RISE Coalition’s trailer offers a sunny promise of warmer weather following a late-winter snowstorm in this 2019 file photo. [Express photo/Regan Foster/file]

City, county release weather-wise tips, offer preparedness websites

How’s this for timing?

Winter blew in with vengeance this week, dumping more than five inches of snow on Colorado Springs and bringing with it chilling temperatures. And while the National Weather Service forecast calls for more mild temperatures starting this weekend —with highs between 48 and 51 degrees and lows in the mid-20s for the foreseeable future — it’s a chilly reminder that winter is here.

So it’s appropriate that the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management updated and promoted winter weather awareness this week. The goal, according to a press release, was to “provide El Paso County and Colorado Springs residents with tools and information to prepare their homes, families and vehicles for winter weather conditions.”

This is especially important, the press release noted, for new residents of the area. The city and county encouraged all Colorado Springs residents to familiarize themselves with the National Weather Service watch and warning definitions, as well as winter-safety procedures.

To that end, both the city and county have rolled out for the season websites dedicated to providing weather-wise advice to help keep Jack Frost from nipping at your nose. You can find those details at the city’s digital hub and by visiting the El Paso County neighborhood preparedness webpage here.

Here are just a sample of the city pros’ tips on how to beat winter’s chill and keep yourself safe and warm around the house:

Volunteers with the Energy Resource Center caulk air gaps in a client’s home. Weatherizing is one energy-efficient method to help keep homes snug against winter’s chill. [Courtesy photo/Energy Resource Center]

Breathe deeply

  • Avoid the risk of carbon monoxide by making sure heating system is clean and properly vented and having worn or defective parts replaced. Have your fireplace, chimney and flue cleaned annually, and install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and check it regularly to make sure the battery is working.
  • Bear in mind that kerosene heaters are not just dangerous, they’re illegal in the city. Don’t heat your home with a gas stove or oven, and don’t use gas-powered appliances, such as a generator, inside.
  • If you park your car inside a garage, make sure to open the garage door before starting it, and don’t leave the motor running in an enclosed area. Automobile exhaust contains carbon monoxide, so make sure to keep it from building up.

About space heaters

  • If a portable space heater is in your heating pan, make sure you use one htat is approved for indoor use. Keep it clear of combustable materials, including furniture, drapes and carpeting, and never drape clothes over a space heater.
  • Always keep an eye on heating equipment, and turn it off when you aren’t able to closely monitor it.

Empowered during a power outage

  • If you lose heat and/or power, do what you can to trap existing warm air by insulating your home as much as you can. Hang blankets over windoews and doorways, and stay in a well-insulated room until the heat comes back on.
  • Dress warmly, including layers, hats, scarves and gloves.
  • If you have a safe and working fireplace, use it for heat and light but make sure to keep the damper open for ventilation.
  • Open your faucets to a steady drip so the pipes don’t freeze.
  • Food is fuel that helps the body make its own heat. Drinking water helps your body avoid dehydration.
  • And if the outage is protracted, call family, friends, trusted colleagues, neighbors — really any trusted associate — to see if you can spend time with them until everything is back to normal.

For more winter weather tips, including thoughts on how to winterize your home and the 411 on roads and snowplows, visit the city and county websites above, or check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s winter weather website.

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