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Keeping your front yard safe in the winter

Snow and ice can turn winter wonderlands into safety hazards. Make sure you keep your home free of danger by clearing walkways of ice and taking care of icicles before they become a problem.

Winter weather poses plenty of safety hazards, a few of which are just outside your front door. Before moving, you may not have had to deal with these dangers, but now that you've settled in your new hometown, it may be worthwhile to review two notable issues - icy paths and icicles.

The biggest hazard for many is an ice-slicked walkway. Slipping and falling could result in serious injury, not just for you, but for anyone who walks by your home. Clearing your sidewalk is not only a good precaution, it's also an issue of liability, as many towns require people by law to keep the sidewalk in front of their homes safe for others to use. Shoveling, salting and sanding should all be done regularly.

Another potential danger are the icicles along the perimeter of your home or apartment. Icicles form as a result of snow melting from your roof and freezing as it drips. This can happen due to poor roofing insulation or because you live in a region where there's significant fluctuation between day and nighttime temperatures.While most icicles don't pose a problem, some can get quite large and heavy. If they fall they could hurt someone. Moreover, the weight could also damage your gutters. Clear icicles before they become sizable with a pole or other device that allow you to keep a safe distance. It's never smart to stand under icicles as you clear them, and you should try to avoid having to climb onto a ladder to clear icicles by hand. 

These are just two basic precautions for preparing your home for winter. However, once done, you'll have succeeded in making your home much safer.

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