No matter where you live in the United States, winter weather impacts everyone. From continuous clouds and rain in the west to cooler temperatures, a light dusting of snow, or freezing rain in the south, Mother Nature can be challenging.
Here are some ways you can be a good neighbor this winter.
1. Keep your sidewalk clear of snow and debris. Whether you’re a homeowner, property owner, or renter, shoveling snow may be a chore you don’t enjoy. However, in areas where snowfall is common this time of year, it’s often unavoidable. Not removing snow from your driveway or sidewalk can lead to many issues such as injuries, fines, or even death.
If you live in a warm climate, keeping debris off your sidewalk is just as important to prevent neighborhood injuries. In communities where the main transportation is golf carts, large palm tree branches on cart paths can be hazardous. If you come across one, remove it from the path if possible. Watch out for sharp thorns! Lastly, if you encounter an iguana that has fallen out of a tree due to cold temperatures, never pick it up or take it into your home.
2. Keep an open path to fire hydrants. When driving through your neighborhood, you probably don’t notice the fire hydrants scattered about. Fire hydrants are critical to keeping your family safe should a fire occur in your home. If you have one on your property, city ordinances may require you to keep it clear of ice and snow. If this is the case, it’s important to clear a minimum of three feet around it so that the fire department can access it quickly.
If you don’t have to worry about ice and snow, keep an eye out for parked cars. Cars should never be parked in front of a fire hydrant. I remember hearing a story about a California fire department that broke out a car’s windows so that they could connect their hose to the hydrant. If you notice someone is a repeat offender, contact your local authorities.
3. Keep your storm sewers clear of ice, snow, and other debris. Street flooding can occur if sewers are blocked. And if the temperature drops, your neighborhood could be turned into an ice rink. Even if there’s no chance of an ice rink where you live, flooded streets can hide potholes and other road hazards.
4. Check on your elderly neighbors. If you have elderly neighbors, friends, or relatives, check in with them regularly. A few minutes spent with them could be the highlight of their day.