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Monday, February 10, 2014

Good neighbors can warm up the winter

Submitted by Mike Lovas, Saint Paul Emergency Management

Mr. Rogers taught us many lessons in his day-- mostly to be a good neighbor.  During this cold, snowy, icy winter season, we can take cues from Mr. Rogers and help our neighbors out (cardigan sweater optional).

Cold winter temperatures cause us to spend more time indoors.  Unlike in summer, when we see our neighbors outside regularly, we can go days without seeing neighbors in the cold and longer nights of winter.  Please, take the time to check on your neighbors, especially if they are older or ill health, just to make sure they are OK. 

Another way to help your neighbors is to adopt a fire hydrant.  There are more than 7,000 fire hydrants in the city.   Snowfalls and snow removal often covers, buries or restricts clear access to fire hydrants.  If any of those are needed to fight a fire, having them covered in snow will delay the fire department and waste precious seconds and minutes while firefighters locate and dig them out to gain access rather than fight the fire.  If you have one on your street, help out the fire department by shoveling out a clear access path to the hydrant, at least one foot around the hydrant and out to the street.  You may be helping your neighbor or yourself. 

While you are shoveling, make sure your sidewalk is also clear and salted/sanded if necessary.  Leave skating on ice for the hockey rink, not your sidewalk.  And since you are outside anyway, check your fresh air intake on your furnace system to make sure it too is clear of snow.  There have been several stories recently of carbon monoxide poisoning stemming from blocked air intakes.  Carbon monoxide detectors are essential for alerting you to any dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in your residence, but performing the crucial preventive checks on your system will keep your family safe and healthy.

For more on how to prepare for winter, visit: http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather


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