Winter Preparations: Plan Ahead

Here are some tips to make sure you and your neighbors stay safe this winter.

For much of the northern hemisphere, winter is almost here. Taking preventive action is your best defense against having to deal with cold-weather conditions.

United Way can help you prepare and pitch in this winter. It’s not too soon to:

  • Stock your car with safety gear. Supplies should include: a shovel, scraper, flashlight, blanket and road salt.
  • Prepare your home. It’s time to do things like clean your gutters to prevent ice damming, schedule a chimney cleaning and check space heaters for sufficient ventilation and cords that are still in good shape.
  • Volunteer to help your neighbors stay warm and safe this winter by participating in weatherization projects now and “Snow Buddy” programs once snow and ice are on the ground.

Can volunteering really make a difference? Consider this story.

"It was really windy last night. You could hear the cold air blowing against our living room window. My husband and I discussed how last year at this time, the cold air was blowing right into our living room through several drafts around the window. The window ledges were always cold to the touch and our heat stayed cranked up high to compensate. Last night, the ledges were warm and no cold air came in, thanks to the plastic! Our heat has also been able to be turned down a bit and we're staying warm!”

The couple in this story benefited from United Way of Madison County’s Operation Weatherization, now in its 12th year. Each fall, about 150-200 volunteers in Anderson, Indiana weatherize 100 homes for people who need help, and deliver kits of materials and instructions (often assembled by volunteers). Volunteers complete simple tasks such as caulking, weather stripping and wrapping windows in plastic. Even middle-schoolers get involved and learn the benefits of giving back. An eighth-grade volunteer from Liberty Christian School said: “Today I thought I’d walk away my normal self; I had no clue I’d be impacted like that. It was amazing.”

Your local United Way can provide more tips for you to stay safe and warm this winter and help others do the same.