So You Think You Are Ready For Another Montana Winter?
Such a magical time of year - clean, crisp innocent winter. HA HA HA! Oh don’t get it wrong- what’s more fun than a snowball fight with family or friends. But let’s not forget its COLD! We are not talking about the cold that forces us to wear long sleeves and pants again, but the kind of cold that makes your nostrils stick together and the kind that creates icicles that hang from the tip of your nose - that’s a “Montana Winter”.
Montanans have adapted over the years. We will joke about the temperatures and the depth of the snow and tell stories of years past. If you are one of those or new to the area and haven’t experienced a Montana winter…do you know how to prepare? It could be 50 above one day and 30 below with winds blowing just as fast the next. That day is not the day to think about preparing. Here are just a few things that we all need to remember
Frostbite is serious so good outerwear should be the first thing you should purchase. Look for items that protect you to temps well below zero, boots, coats, hats, gloves and snow pants. If you and your loved ones will be outside make sure they have protective wear that will cover all exposed skin. Have fun and enjoy the winter but know the warning signs of hypothermia and frostbite. For more information go to: www. Emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/faq.asp
Your home also needs attention prior to winter settling in because our “Montana Winters” last a while. Your home will be the warm spot for you and your loved ones so make sure it is ready and safe. Everyone should have a working carbon monoxide and smoke detector. Make sure your doors and windows keep out the cold and wind; cover them if needed but, keep in mind you may need them for an emergency exit. Make sure your pipes are exposed to warm air, wrapped with heat tape or remain dripping in extreme cold temperatures. Check your ventilation system and keep it free of snow and ice. Keep your entrances and walkways free of snow and ice, falling in cold temperature and not being able to get up could cost a life. Keep survival supplies on hand because your home could be your shelter for a few days or more during one of our “Montana Winters”. You can pick up a Montana Disaster & Emergency Survival Guide at the Richland County Health Department.
The temperatures will affect your vehicle so be sure to get it winterized before winter starts. Install a block heater if it doesn’t have one, check your coolant levels, battery, tires, breaks, lights, and wipers. Switch to winter fuel if you drive a diesel or add an additive if you drive a gas vehicle each time you fill. Your vehicle could be your lifeline; make sure it is ready for a “Montana Winter”. If you are unfamiliar with driving in winter conditions go to http://www.mdt.mt.gov/safety/winter_driving.shtml to familiarize yourself with valuable driving techniques. TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU ARE GOING, EXACT ROUTE AND WHEN YOU WILL ARRIVE. NEVER LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE. PLAN TO SURVIVE. ALWAYS BUCKLE UP
Stay warm, Stay Safe! We will see you in the spring ~ OK…we are here for you all year. If you have questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact Richland County Injury Prevention Specialist at 406-433-2207. The Richland County Injury Prevention Team can work with businesses and their employees in helping educate on Winter Safety, Please contact Mary Sundheim at the Richland County Health Department.