Warm Up to These Clever Tips for Winter Safety

By Technical Writer Uinita Mauigoa

With days that look like nights and skies lit by aurora borealis, Alaska can be a wintry wonder, reminding us of why we choose to live in this beautiful state. Here are some tips on how to stay safe and warm while enjoying and appreciating the splendors of the Alaskan winter season:

Stay Warm and Dry

Think layers — Base layer, to regulate heat, should be wool, silk, or polyester. Insulating layer, to retain heat, should be wool, down, or fleece. Shell layer, to protect from the elements, should be waterproof and windproof.

Waterproof socks —Slip each foot into plastic bags after putting on thin socks. Slide on another pair of thin socks to secure plastic and you should be set.

Heat rice packs — Secure rice in a clean sock, warm in the microwave 20 seconds, and place in a desired location, such as the bed or seat, to warm the surface. Heated rice bags are also great for sore muscles and hand warmers.

Retain heat — Open curtains on sunny days for solar warming, close doors throughout the house to trap warm air, and invest in heavy drapes to insulate heat on colder days.

Stay Safe

Gain traction — Keep a bag of kitty litter in your car trunk. If your car gets stuck in snow or ice, sprinkle kitty litter at the base of your tires to add traction. Slip-proof driveways with additional kitty litter or sand.

Travel smart — Check road conditions and share your plans with someone. Keep the following items in your car for emergencies: flashlight, batteries, emergency thermal blankets, duct tape, first aid kit, snacks, water, flares, shovel, lighter, and cell phone charger.

Play safely — Wear a helmet when operating an ATV or snow machines to protect your head, and opt for light moisture-wicking layers when active. Keep microfiber towels handy to stay dry and continue having fun.

Stay Prepared

Keep emergency lighting  — Ensure each member of the family has a flashlight with batteries, and keep extra candles and lighters/matches on hand. Lint, toilet paper rolls, and duct tape can serve as fire starters.

Stash food and water — Bottled water and canned food are often the first items stores run out during emergencies. Get into the habit of buying extra bottled water and canned food every time you go shopping to build an emergency supply.

Stock batteries — It is a good idea to have a multi-pack of batteries stored, instead of trying to buy them all at once during an emergency.