Winter is coming which means an increased risk of ice on your property. While bad weather can be inevitable in Vermont, decreasing fall risk at your home can help. Here are a few ways to do just that:
The first step to preventing your own falls start indoors. Preparing your entryways can help! Try placing skid-resistant door mats near entrances to dry your footwear. Make sure you check the bottoms of your feet each time you enter the home, and clean off the accumulated ice, snow or water. Keeping your floors as dry as possible is another great way to prepare your home.
In addition, you will want to store a shovel and some salt and sand in a place that is easily accessible, in a mudroom, entry space or attached garage.
Prior to wintery weather, you should walk the exterior of your home to ensure exterior stairs and handrails, as well as pathways, are in good condition. Repair and fix any wobbly handrails and uneven surfaces. In addition, ensure the grade of the ground is sloping away from your home and that water is shedding properly from driveways and walkways. You will want to adjust downspouts to drive water away from pathways - it doesn’t take long for pooling water to become icy patches.
Once the snow flies, be sure to have adequate supplies of salt and sand on hand. Salt lowers the freezing point of water and can be spread on sidewalks or driveways to keep them from getting icy, or to help melt away ice that has already formed. Sand doesn’t melt ice but is applied to icy walkways to provide traction. If you don’t have sand on hand, other abrasive materials such as kitty litter, saw dust and wood ashes can be used to create traction on icy walkways.
Clear your walkways with the shovel and treat outdoor surfaces with salt and sand immediately after storms to prevent falls. It’s easier to clear snow before it has been compacted by footsteps or melts and refreezes.
Wooden porches, decks or steps can become especially slick in winter. Use a shovel to clear them off, and do not use salt on wood, as it will deteriorate the wood.
Make sure to shovel the pathway to the front or side door, and around your mailbox, to ensure safe delivery of packages and mail. You should also clear around any vents and window wells on the exterior of your home, well caps and sewer vents and around the closest fire hydrant, in case of emergency.
If you park in the garage, periodically sweep out the garage to ensure any melted snow and salt from the car is not freezing on the garage floor.