If you love all of the outdoor adventures that a Minneapolis winter has to offer like skiing and ice-skating, the colder months are something to look forward to. But, as fun, as they can be, they can also be dangerous.

With average winter temperature lows dancing in the teens and single digits, winter safety is not something to be trivialized. Here are five safety tips for everyone that lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region.

Prepare for Heater Malfunctions

No matter how careful you are and how up to date you are with your heater maintenance, sometimes mechanical failures happen at the very worst of times. If you are snowed in, and your heater decides to take the day off, your house can get dangerously cold very quickly.

Always keep a backup heat source like a kerosene heater around. You have to be extremely careful should you need to use it, but having heat is going to be worth the extra attention it requires.

Additionally, have plenty of blankets, and dry, warm clothes stashed just in case you are stuck without heat for several days.

Mind Open Flames

Some of the most common winter accidents in homes are fire related. Whether a poorly cleaned or vented fireplace sheds flammable embers into your living space, or candles burn down or fall over, an open flame is a cause of concern.

Never leave one unattended, and always keep a watchful eye over them as emergency crews might have trouble getting to your home if conditioners are poor should you need them.

Don’t Shovel Cold

Shoveling is much more of a workout than most people realize. It can be dangerous in a couple of ways.

First, a shovel full of snow can be quite heavy. If you use poor form or you start shoveling hard without a proper warm up, it’s very easy to injure yourself, especially your lower back. Warm up your core body temperature and limber up a little before you get started.

Also, if you are not in very good physical condition, shoveling can put an excess strain on your heart. More people suffer heart attacks while shoveling than most realize. Be careful and go slowly, or even better, get help from a neighbor.

Dress Appropriately

If you absolutely must go outdoors, it’s essential to dress for the cold correctly. The two biggest dangers are either suffering frostbite or hypothermia.

Frostbite occurs when your body actually freezes. This can happen in two ways.

One is that a specific part of your body, like your ears, are exposed to frigid temperatures for too long. The other is when a part of your body isn’t getting enough blood flow. This can happen if your clothes are too tight, like if you wear several layers of socks that constrict your toes too much.

The trick is to wear enough clothing but to do so in loose layers that allow for plenty of free movement.

Hypothermia, on the other hand, happens when your core temperature gets too low. You also want to dress with plenty of loose layers to avoid this fatal danger.

Stay Off the Roads

When it gets bad outside, whether it’s too much snow or extremely dangerous freezing rain, the safest thing you can do is to put down your car keys and stay off the roads. It doesn’t matter how well the cleanup crews are doing their job unless it’s an absolute emergency, never drive during inclement weather.

It’s a good idea to minimize your driving even when things clear up. When temperatures are low, there’s a much higher chance of hazards like black ice.

Instead of jumping into your car, pick up a book and kick up your feet.

In Summary

Cold weather and snow are as dangerous as they can be fun. There’s no reason you cannot enjoy your winter while living in the great city of Minneapolis. But, a little preparation can go a long way as far as your and your loved ones’ safety is concerned.

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