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Prepare Now for Upcoming Holiday Travel

Take Winter By Storm urges citizens to take steps to protect property and lives this holiday season

SEATTLE, Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Holiday travel, expected to be in full swing by this weekend, can be particularly expensive and stressful. Making sure to prepare in advance of upcoming travel for weather scenarios that might occur while you're away is an important step to ensuring that costs and chaos are minimized. Being prepared can help you avoid weather-related incidents such as driving accidents and flooding in the house.

If travel plans are in your near future, whether one day or multiple weeks, Take Winter By Storm— a regional campaign to help people get prepared before bad weather strikes — offers the following tips.

Do a Quick Maintenance Check Around Your Yard
Even with cold weather conditions upon us, your yard still needs to be maintained. Take care of these yard concerns before you hit the road to protect your house and windows:

  • Trim tree and shrub branches away from the house and windows. Icy conditions can cause branches to break and damage your home.
  • While you're outside, clear debris off gas meters and away from basement windows and clean out those gutters to allow water to properly drain off the roof. 
  • Finally, disconnect your garden hose and cover the faucet with insulation to prevent it from freezing.

Protect Your Home from Winter Hazards, Pests and Save Costs Too
A couple preventative steps around the house can go a long way in avoiding major, costly damage while you're away:

  • Insulate exposed water pipes (those located in attics, crawl spaces, basements, and near uninsulated outer walls) to protect them from freezing and bursting.
  • Walk around your home and survey your house. Check the foundation for small cracks or openings where pests seeking warmth can tunnel and seal up any possible entrances.
  • If you're traveling for more than a couple of days, turn off your water heater at the circuit breaker to save energy. Make sure to also turn off all holiday lights/decorations to prevent fires.

Take Extra Caution On Roads
The holidays mean significantly more traffic on the roads, often during seasonal weather conditions such as rain, fog, ice and even snow, and more potential pitfalls in transit. These tips will help you stay safe and keep holiday plans on track:

  • If possible, plan your trip to avoid driving at night. 90% of a driver's reaction depends on vision, thus the night driving accident rate is about three times that of daylight driving.
  • Double-check to make sure you've got jumper cables in your trunk. Cold weather takes its toll on car batteries. An easy jump-start could save you or someone you see on your journey a lot of time and hassle.
  • Have your vehicle properly serviced and stock it with items that might be helpful in case of a problem: thick blankets, extra food and water, coats, and a flashlight. A winter storm can leave you spending your holiday stuck in horrendous traffic or worse yet, stranded.

Visit TakeWinterByStorm.org for more information and helpful resources, such as a downloadable preparedness and maintenance checklists and emergency contact cards. These tips and more can also be found on the State Farm Learning Center website at learningcenter.statefarm.com.

About Take Winter By Storm
The Take Winter By Storm campaign is a collaborative, public-private effort between the King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, the cities of Seattle and Bellevue, State Farm, National Weather Service/NOAA, Bartell Drugs and other local retailers. These organizations – which represent Washington state's largest counties and city emergency management offices and energy utilities, the leading insurer of homes and automobiles, weather forecasters, first responders during disaster occurrences and local businesses – have joined forces in the major multi-media public awareness campaign to raise community awareness of hazardous weather and help protect lives and property.

SOURCE Take Winter By Storm

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