Preparing your home for the holidays Published Dec. 5, 2022 By Alan Payne, 75th Air Base Wing Safety HILL AIR FORCE BASE – Although preparedness usually occurs before the season, you can still take care of items you may have missed during the warmer afternoon. Just use extra caution and plan for cold, slippery conditions prior to tackling any lingering home maintenance issues. On the exterior of your home, check your water lines. Insulate any exterior water lines and make sure all garden hoses are disconnected from the house to prevent burst water lines. Clean out your gutters and install heat tape on the north and east-facing roofs to prevent ice dams from building up. If you get large icicles or drifts of snow hanging off your roof, purchase a long-handled snow rake to avoid climbing a ladder to remove them. Consider cleaning or hiring a company to clean your chimney prior to using your fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Ensure you have properly working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Hard-wired units are the most effective and reliable, but there are numerous excellent battery-powered and plug-in units available as well. Test detectors monthly and replace the batteries twice a year. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pains and confusion. If you suspect carbon monoxide in the home, exit immediately and call 911. According to the CDC, over 400 people are killed annually, and another 50,000 hospitalized from carbon monoxide poisoning. Make a plan, work safely, and take the necessary steps to prepare your home for the holidays. The best time to winter-safe your home was about eight weeks ago. The second-best time is today.