Pretty winter snowfalls and glistening trees are a beautiful sight here in Champaign/Urbana IL, but the bitter temperatures, howling winds and icy precipitation can turn into a dangerous winter storm very quickly.  Are you ready?

First, you need to make sure you are in a safe and warm place.  If you are using your fireplace for warmth, make sure you use all the fireplace safety precautions.  Using candles are almost always the first thing that comes to mind, but make sure you never leave them unattended or close to combustibles.  Also, if you are using a generator, make sure it is outside of the home only, in order to provide proper ventilation.

Anticipate a power outage.  Close off any unused rooms and turn your heat up...this allows the home to heat to a much higher level, allowing it to retain the heat longer during an outage. Allow water to trickle from your faucets to prevent pipes from freezing.  Make sure your battery powered flashlight, radios and other electronic devices are fully charged and ready to go.  You should also have a first aid kit readily available, should the need arise.

Check your supplies.  It is important that you make sure you have enough heating fuel for your home and generator, or a stockpile of dry wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.  Snow-blowers, shovels and melting salt should be on hand to keep all walkways clear.  You must also make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food, water, medications, warm clothing and blankets for you and your family to cover several days of need.

Stay inside your home.  If at all possible, you need to stay at home and off of the roads.  If you go outside to clear snow, make sure you are dressed in loose layers of clothing to prevent any frost-bite or hypothermia; this will also keep you the warmest while out in the elements.  If you MUST use your vehicle, make sure you have sufficient gas and an emergency roadside kit, should you need to pull off the road.  Always stay clear of downed power-lines!  Additionally, it is important to have your gas tank at least half full at all times, to prevent gas-line freeze.

Take care of your pets.  You need to treat your pets to the same precautions that you yourself would use.  Make sure they have plenty of food and water, and when they need to go outside that they are only out for a few minutes at a time.

Winter in Champaign/Urbana is a wonderful and beautiful season, filled with sledding, skiing, and other fun winter events...but you need to be prepared at all times for the weather to turn dangerous.

If you need any other valuable information about the Champaign/Urbana IL area, please feel free to contact my office at Champaignrose, and I'll be happy to help in any way I can.