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We spend a lot of time in our cars these days. Whether commuting to work every day or traveling to visit family and friends often, we rack up almost as many hours in our vehicles as we do our own home...
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Ten Items for a Safe and Comfortable Winter

by Safe Home Team 23. June 2009 08:52

If you live in an area that has freezing temperatures in the winter, then you know the dangers and discomforts the cold months can bring. However, you don't have to be miserable for six months out of the year. We have come up with ten items to add to your home and vehicle to help turn those frigid days into smooth sailing.

At Home

1. Weather monitor

During cold months, you should stay aware of weather conditions. Rapid drops in temperature or oncoming storms could make travel unsafe, and knowing what is in your area could prevent disaster. Having a weather monitor means that you have constant access to weather changes in the vicinity. There are inexpensive models, such as the Oregon Scientific Handheld Weather Forecaster, that displays temperature, humidity, and a 12-24 hour forecaster. If you want a more complete forecast, check out Oregon Scientific’s Cable-Free Weather Station, which monitors over 20 weather conditions, including current weather trends.

2. Home Temperature Monitors

Cold temperatures and winter storms can do crazy things to furnaces and thermostats. Consider having a back up by purchasing a separate home temperature monitor. You can guarantee accurate readings in the event of a furnace failure. A great option is the Home Guard Temperature Monitor and Alert System. It keeps track of indoor temperatures and will call you if your home’s temperature dips below 45 degrees F. This is particularly handy if you spend long hours at the office, or if you have a summer home that is vacant during winter months.

3. Radon Gas Alarm

Winter months mean you will be cranking the heat, which results in minor shifts in your foundation and home structure. Typically, it is a shift so subtle nobody ever notices. However, these shifts can cause cracks big enough for radon gas to leak through. Make sure your home does not contain unhealthy radon levels by having working radon alarms in your home at all times, such as the Safety Siren Pro 3 Series, which is the only radon gas alarm evaluated by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency].

4. Snow Melt Mat

Of all cold-weather issues, the most present is ice, and if you live in a cold climate you know how difficult it can be to stay on top of ice build up. A well-placed snow melt mat can make a world of difference. The Ice-Away Snow Melt Mat is helpful as all get out in keeping the entrance to your home safe from slipping, and is quite a bit more economical than embedded systems. Just plug it into any standard 110V outlet, and it keeps your entryway ice-free. You can even slip it under your welcome mat so your entryway looks nothing other than safe and inviting.

In the Car

5. Easy Car Jump

Frigid temperatures do funky things to your vehicle. Even the newest car can fall victim to the cold. That is why you should always have a portable jump starter in your trunk. The Peak 300 Amp Starter is great because it’s safer to use and easier to transport than traditional jump starters. The ease of its function makes it perfect for cold-weather jumping as it means you will be spending less time in the freezing breeze getting your car jumped.

6. Emergency Blanket

If your car were to break down during times of extremely low temperatures, it may be dangerous for you to go in search of help, particularly at night, as the risk of hypothermia is high. Believe it or not, hypothermia can be a health risk at temperatures below 60 degrees F. Most winter nights are significantly below that. Always have a blanket stashed in your vehicle for any just-in-case situation. A great option is the Compact Emergency Space-Age Blanket. It fits neatly in your trunk or back seat, and the thermal material holds in up to 90% of body heat, keeping you comfortable and safe while you wait for help. It also acts as a great solar shield in hot temperatures, so it’s useful in any season.

7. Auto Heater

If your vehicle breaks down, but still retains battery power, a back up auto heater, such as the Koolatron 12V Auto Heater, can be a life saver. It will use significantly less energy than your vehicle’s heating system, and it gives off no harmful exhaust.  An auto heater like the Koolatron Heater is also great if you have an earlier model vehicle that does not have back seat temperature control. Plug it into your cigarette lighter, and your back-seat passengers will stay toasty the whole ride. Plus, it will defrost your back window if needed.

8. Heated Seat Cushion

The first few minutes in your car on a winter day can be freezing. You can keep your tookus toasty with some heated seat cushions.  You can get them to cover your entire seat, like the Wagan Heated Seat Cushion. However, if you're looking for something a little more portable, look into The Benchwarmer Portable Heated Seat Cushion. Is is comfy, and it has its own battery source so you can take it to football games, hunting, or any other cold-weather outdoor occasions. Plus, if you are stranded with no power to your car, the Benchwarmer will keep you warm and safe.

9. Survival Kit with Food Rations

Your home is your comfort zone – a place where you have everything you need to survive. However, when you are in your vehicle, you are away from that comfort zone. Give yourself a little peace of mind by keeping a stocked survival kit with food rations. The Super Ark Emergency Food Bar and Survival Kit is perfect for you car. It has everything you need to survive for up to 72 hours with food rations, emergency drinking water, a survival blanket, extra light, and basic first aid needs. Plus, it is compact, so it won’t take up much trunk space.

10. Flashlight

In cold weather, you don’t want to waste time rooting around for lost items or fumbling around a motor in the dark. Keep a flashlight handy. Viatek Rescue is a great light to keep in your vehicle. It has a crank battery so you will never run out of juice, plus it has an AM/FM radio, and it will even jump your car. It is everything you need in a flashlight, plus major survival benefits!