Temperatures dropped on the weekend, sending ice floes down the Fraser River. Melanie Law photo

Time for winter safety

Don’t use propane torches to thaw frozen pipes - use electric heaters

A very dangerous time of the year has arrived for residents in Quesnel and area — indeed, all through the north.

We are seeing the first of Old Man Winter and we are starting to see some very familiar winter sights – hoar frost is on the bushes and trees and ice floes are rolling down the Fraser River.

It’s very cool to look at, but it should also be a signal that’s there ice on the roads — some of it is black and it’s the most dangerous of its species.

And, dear readers, it should be a huge warning to slow down — all of us have to slow down and drive to road conditions.

That goes for those of us who drive four-by-fours. Yes they plow through snow on a straight line, but they don’t help stay out of the ditches if we’re speeding through corners and they don’t help us brake any more quickly.

This writer has learned to drive to road conditions – the hard way. Yes, I, too, was an upside-down-clown.

So, please slow down and drive defensively. Everyone wants to get home to their loved ones.

Remember, when we’re driving on the highways and byways, we’re all members of a community of drivers who occupying the same space.

It only takes one of us to make a mistake and the result can be tragic and one we may have to live with for the rest of our lives.

While we’re here, let’s sing the praise of the men and women who attend the motor vehicle incidents and complete the many tasks that are necessary to secure the accident scene, extricate trapped occupants and stabilize and transfer victims to the hospital.

Too many times they risk their lives because we make a stupid mistake.

They save us, but only we can prevent the incidents in the first place.

There are other winter concerns we should consider and we don’t even have to step off our property.

They both concern fires – chimney fires and fires from thawing frozen pipe.

Our area volunteer firefighters have already attended some chimney fires.

The biggest key for wood-fire safety is to clean your chimney thoroughly and do it every year – early fall is probably the most pleasant time to get the brushes out and give the chimney a good cleaning.

Obviously, burning dry wood is best and so is letting the fire burn hot from time to time to burn off the creosote before it builds up.

As for frozen pipes, don’t use a propane torch to thaw the pipes – flames can cause fires.

The best alternatives are using heat tape and wrapping exposed pipes, or electric heaters.

Let’s all have a safe winter.

Ken Alexander

Quesnel Cariboo Observer

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