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October Better Home Newsletter Blog

10 ways to stay safe this autumn.
A Canadian autumn is unlike any other season. Tourists come from around the globe to experience our leaves turning green to red, orange and yellow. It’s a truly Canadian spectacle.  However, autumn is also our first warning of the cold, long winter ahead, and the many hazards it can bring.

This month we are taking a look at 10 things that you can do to you make your family and friends a little safer in the days, nights and months ahead.

Get your flu shot.
Statistically speaking, this is supposed to be a bad flu year. The number of people who received a flu shot last year dropped dramatically from the year before and the result is predicted to be a heavy flu season with lots of snifflling, infected, unhappy people!  Be prepared and get your shot early.

Make sure your bikes have lights and reflectors.
It is getting dark a lot earlier these days, but not yet cold enough to stop riding to work, school, or just around for fun. In the summer, riding at 6:30 wouldn’t be an issue, but now cars may have a tough time spotting you. Protect yourself with lights and reflector strips, and make sure you can be seen.

Check carefully when crossing the street.
During the majority of the year a red shirt or jacket would stand out and ensure that you are easily noticed. But during the autumn that same jacket may act as a camouflage amid bright leaf colours, and make it harder for drivers to see you. Pay attention and make sure you see them and yield regardless of who has the right of way.

Use face paint rather than a mask on Halloween.
Tragically, there is a dramatic increase in youth pedestrian accidents on Halloween, but that can be solved by encouraging your kids to take extra precautions when crossing roadways. A mask will reduce their ability to see hazards and motorists so use face paint as an alternative. The additional visibility could make a life-changing difference.

Watch your posture when raking.
Cleaning up all of the leaves falling in your yard can be quite a bit of work. Make sure you use a large enough rake, take breaks when needed, and avoid lifting too much at one time. A second trip to the curb or needing to use an additional bag pales in comparison to the inconvenience of a hurt back and really sore muscles.

Be careful on the ladder.
One of the last fall cleanup duties is typically cleaning out the eavestrough to prevent excessive icing during the winter.  Review the safety instructions on your ladder, do your best to recruit a spotter to hold the ladder, and avoid reaching too far.  The same common sense in the previous tip also applies here: it’s a lot less inconvenient to move the ladder a few more times than to deal with the injuries caused by a fall.

Be aware of slippery conditions.
Brightly coloured camouflaged pedestrians aren’t the only thing drivers need to be aware of this time of year. In the next month Ontario transitions from slippery surfaces caused by wet leaves to the potential for slippery surfaces due to ice.  Remember, bridges and overpasses ice up much earlier than the rest of roads, and can be especially slippery in the morning.

Prepare for rapidly dropping temperatures.
Rest assured, we will very likely have a few more sun-filled days before we get into the winter.  That sunshine will hopefully result in some warm days, but as soon as it goes down the temperature will drop with it.  Plan ahead to keep warm.  It will help ensure you don’t get sick.

Thoroughly clean your vents and furnace filter.
Our homes tend to get vented out pretty well during the summer with open windows in the evenings and nice weather. During the winter, that venting doesn’t happen as often, so it is important to clean out your ducts once a year to rid your home of additional dust and allergens. If you haven’t done this in the past, hiring a professional may be the best route. However, by simply removing your air return grates and vacuuming them out with a Shop-Vac or vacuum with a long hose can make a big difference in the amount of allergens in your home. It could also improve the efficiency of your furnace.

Stock up on winter supplies.
There is a good chance we are going to get some chilly weather before the release of our November Better Home Newsletter and your drive and walkways will start to get slick. Since it always seems the shops run out of shovels and salt right when you need it, stock up early.

Bonus Tip: Plan to change your tires. 
It’s not uncommon to delay putting your snow tires on until the first few flurries.  Unfortunately, that means your local garage is going to be very busy, and you are going to need to line up impatiently with the rest of us when that first snowfall actually happens. Plan and book time to change your tires now to avoid the rush, and ensure you have the traction you need when that first snowfall surprises us.


{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Susan October 26, 2011, 9:01 pm

    Do not always count on your GPS to get you to your destination safely, they have been known to take you down less tavelled roads or pathways. Be safe, know where you are going before you head out.

  • Gene October 25, 2011, 7:58 pm

    Not only should you change your tires, you should ensure you have a kit in your vehicle for winter (candle, matches, chocolate bar, emergency blanket, flashlight(preferably the crank type), etc, and whatever else you can think of that might help you if your vehicle breaks down).

  • Victor Berard October 25, 2011, 5:02 pm

    In case of a vehicle breakdown ,keep a few candles in the vehicle .Did you know that a single candle burning can keep the temperature in the vehicle from freezing until help arrives, also make sure to keep some type of holder to keep the candle secure from tipping over so’s not to start a fire.You will also need to be sure to keep a lighter in the vehicle as well. No need to be cold, make this part of your vehicle’s emergency safety kit.

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