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Category Archives: Winter Products

Prepare Your Business for Winter

winter_stormWinter storms can disrupt businesses of all sizes, but are particularly bad for smaller entities that don’t have the financial or human resources to form a rapid response to severe weather. Being caught unprepared for a sudden snowstorm can leave businesses vulnerable to everything from slip-and-fall accident claims to structural damage to the facilities. That’s why small business owners are encouraged to prepare early for the coming winter by doing the following:

  • Inspect the roof and gutters for problems in need of immediate repairs. Ensure that all drains and spouts are free of debris so melting snow has a clear path to the ground.
  • Walk around the property after dark to confirm that all parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, and entrances are adequately lighted.
  • Mark parking lot and ground features that may become obscured or hidden due to heavy snowfall. These may include things like speed bumps, fire hydrants, car stops, curbs, shrubs, and anything else that could cause damage to vehicles or injuries to pedestrians.
  • Formulate a response plan to winter storms and emergencies that includes provisions for snow and ice removal, generators and other backup power sources, and evacuation routes for employees. Post the plan in the cafeteria or break room, and distribute a copy to all employees.
  • Install industrial carpeting, mats, and/or runners near entrances and in lobbies to absorb moisture and ward off indoor slip-and-fall incidents.
  • Provide all employees with ice cleats for extra traction when walking or working outdoors and to reduce the chances of accidents and subsequent worker’s compensation claims.
  • Review your insurance policies to confirm that property coverage is adequate and up to date. If necessary, take photos of your offices, warehouse, and inventory to help facilitate replacement in the event of a claim.

Taking the time to prepare your small business for winter can help you avoid disruptions to ordinary operations, damage to property and inventory, and negligence lawsuits. Start protecting your business now by implementing the tips listed here so you’ll be ready for whatever winter weather comes your way.

Prep Your Dorm Room for Winter

heated-mattress-pad_HTypical college dorm rooms and apartments rarely meet anyone’s idea of a cozy living space, especially in winter. Thanks to drafty windows, bare floors, and a glitchy heater that either runs way too hot or not at all, dorms can be downright miserable once outdoor temperatures begin to dip.

Fortunately, you don’t have to let things get to that point. With a few choice heated accessories and a little extra time, you can convert the room to a warm and inviting place that will be the hit of the entire building. Here’s how to do it:

  • Put a heated floor mat under the area rugs in the room to help keep your feet warm when you’re walking around.
  • Use a heated mattress pad (we even have extra-long twin sizes to accommodate most dorm beds) so you can sleep comfortably through the night without having to turn up the thermostat. This is a terrific option for green campuses or for anyone that wants to save some money on winter heating bills.
  • Cover drafty windows with insulating film or bubble wrap to block out cold air while keeping in warm air. Or if your budget allows, invest in some heavy curtains to achieve the same effect in a more decorative package.
  • Run a piece of weather-stripping tape along the bottom of all doors to further seal the room against cold drafts. If you’re crafty, you can try your hand at DIY draft stoppers.
  • Keep a heated electric throw at your desk, chair, or futon so you can stay nice and toasty while reading, studying, talking with friends, or watching a movie.
  • While it may not have an effect on the temperature, string lights or other holiday décor can be the perfect touch to give your dorm room that warm and cozy feeling.

Remember, winter break only gets you out of the dorm for a few short weeks. So to make the rest of the season tolerable, follow these tips for prepping your dorm room before the cold and nasty weather sets in.

Employers Can’t Afford to Ignore Winter Safety Hazards

cautionAlthough winter is still a couple of months away, it’s never too early for employers to begin making plans to deal with the safety hazards caused by the season’s abundance of ice and snow. Poor traction and slick surfaces in particular are two concerns that employers simply cannot afford to ignore, as these conditions are leading causes of slip-and-fall accidents that can negatively impact businesses. The average slip and fall injury costs a business $28,000, according to the Bureau of Labor. Costs due to these injuries can add up in the following ways:

  • Direct workers compensation payouts
  • Lost employee work days
  • Decreased on-the-job productivity for injured workers
  • Lower employee morale
  • Possible litigation and punitive damages
  • Legal fees and court costs
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Lost business if victim is a client, customer, or other visitor to the facility

All of the above can happen as the result of a single incident, which is why preventive measures must be taken well before the first snowstorm and why swift responses to inclement weather are required throughout the winter. Some of the most effective actions for avoiding potential slip-and-fall claims include:

  • Mandating the use of ice cleats for all employees that work outdoors
  • Making ice cleats or other traction devices available for office employees that must occasionally walk outside for considerable distances (e.g. across campus or through an airport parking lot)
  • Removing snow from walkways and sprinkling salt on exposed surfaces to melt ice
  • Eliminating uneven surfaces in parking lots and on sidewalks
  • Placing floor mats or carpeting inside doorways to absorb snow, ice, and debris from employees’ footwear

Providing safe winter walking gear for employees and visitors is clearly in everyone’s best interest, not only for avoiding all the detrimental outcomes listed here but also for preventing sprains, broken bones, and other serious injuries. So check out the variety of ice cleats and stabilizers we have on sale now at CozyWinters, and be sure to inquire about volume pricing deals for larger orders.

Early Prep for Ski Season

prepare for ski seasonAt most major ski resorts in the US, the official start of the season tends to fall somewhere in mid to late November—still a couple months away. But if you wait for Thanksgiving or the sight of snow on the ground to begin prepping for ski season, chances are you’ll find yourself scrambling to fix broken gear, buy new apparel or equipment, and book lift tickets and lodging before the choice dates sell out.

In that kind of rush something important invariably gets overlooked, which can lead to a miserable time on the slopes or even missing out entirely on prime skiing days. To prevent either of these fiascos from ruining what should be the best time of the year, here are 5 things you can do to prep for ski season right now:

  • Take your equipment out of storage and inspect it for fit, wear, and damage. Even if you took the time to store your skis, board, boots, goggles, and poles in accordance with manufacturer recommendations, some unforeseen mishap might have occurred in the past several months. Now is a good time to visually inspect your ski equipment, and repair or replace gear as necessary.
  • Try on your ski apparel to ensure everything still fits properly. Ski jackets and pants that felt fine last season might be too snug or too roomy if you’ve gained or lost weight in the past year. In addition, growing children will likely need new apparel, and discovering this early enough will allow you to take advantage of pre-season sales. You may also wish to upgrade from regular ski apparel to Gerbing Gyde heated jackets and gloves, available at CozyWinters.com, to help you stay warm even in the coldest conditions.
  • Get your fitness program going. Skiing is much more fun (not to mention bearable) when you’re physically fit enough to handle the challenges associated with spending a whole day on the slopes. If you’ve been letting your exercise program slide, get back on the ball by running, biking, performing squats and lunges, and doing planks and other moves targeting your lower body and core.
  • Sign up for a refresher lesson or two. If you’re still a novice or recreational skier, it’s probably a good idea to sign up for a couple of lessons before tackling the slopes on your own. This will help refresh your memory on form and technique, as well as give you the confidence you need to handle tougher mountains and trails.
  • Buy your lift tickets and lodging in advance. This tip applies primarily to folks intending to ski at the most popular resorts in the country or at smaller resorts during peak weekends. If you already know that you’ll be in Park City or Breckenridge on certain dates, or that your family will only be able to get away during Christmas break, then plan accordingly and try booking tickets and lodging as soon as the resort starts accepting reservations.

Even though it’s still September, ski season is getting closer by the day. Make sure you’re ready for it by getting a jump on the early prep work listed above.

Think your industry’s employees don’t need ice cleats? Think again.

falling-on-iceFiguring out what kind of personal protective equipment employees need for a particular job is often a straightforward task. In fact, within most industries there’s very little guesswork involved. For example, hearing protection, safety glasses, steel-toed boots, and gloves are fairly standard issue for employees in manufacturing positions, while those in carpentry or construction jobs might also need a hardhat, high-visibility vest, and/or respiratory protection.

However, it can be a bit more difficult to determine which industry’s employees should be given ice cleats for the winter. That’s because we tend to think that only workers in outdoor jobs, such as mail or package delivery and landscaping, would benefit from the extra traction ice cleats provide.

But consider how frequently employees that have “desk jobs” are required to go outside in the winter as part of their ordinary duties. All of those offsite business meetings, trips to the post office, lunches and dinners with clients, and visits to trade shows and conferences put even corporate employees at risk for slip-and-fall accidents—leaving you, as the employer, potentially liable for workman’s compensation claims, increased insurance costs, and lost productivity.

To protect your employees and your business, we recommend ice cleats for the following types of workers:

  • Firefighters
  • Police officers and security guards
  • EMT personnel
  • Newspaper reporters and photographers
  • College and university staff (especially on large campuses located in areas that receive heavy snowfall)
  • Traveling salespeople
  • Frequent-flyer type executives

The goal here is to provide ice cleats for any employee that is required to leave the building and visit other locations during the workday. Since you can’t be sure that the other site has followed safety protocols in terms of shoveling snow and salting walkways to eliminate ice buildup, you’re better off giving your employees the means to protect themselves.

Now that you’re ready to purchase ice cleats for your employees, visit CozyWinters to check out all the different brands and styles we carry. We offer volume pricing on government and corporate orders, so get ready to stock up on winter footwear today.

How to Store Ice Cleats and Other Winter Items for Summer

storage solution winter productsWe know what you’re thinking: It’s now the middle of July and the cold, ice, and snow are impossibly far away. Why bring up winter gear storage now?

That’s a fair question, especially if you’ve already stowed your ice cleats, battery heated apparel, electric blankets, ski boots, gloves, and other expensive winter equipment in an appropriate manner.

But over the years we’ve learned that, for a variety of reasons (forgetfulness, lack of time, sheer procrastination, etc.), a large number of our customers don’t actually get around to this task until sometime in the summer—like right about now.

So if your winter gear has been securely packed away for the past few months, you can take this opportunity to check up on the items to make sure they’re completely dry and pest-free. And if you’re still fighting your way through wool sweaters and down jackets as you try to find your favorite t-shirt or windbreaker, use our tips for storing those garments for the rest of the summer:

  • Machine wash or dry clean the garment according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the label before storing. Then neatly fold or roll each item to avoid developing unwanted creases in the material, and place in a vacuum-sealed storage bag or airtight plastic container.
  • Heavier garments such as parkas and down jackets should be hung on sturdy plastic or wood hangers (never wire ones) that are able to support the extra weight.
  • Keep apparel and blankets smelling fresh by tossing a sachet of cedar chips or dried lavender in the storage container before sealing.
  • Store apparel and blankets in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help prevent musty odors and mildew, as well as keep moths, mites, and other pests at bay.
  • Use wall pegs, hooks, or racks in the garage to hang ice cleats, ski boots, and other winter footwear off the ground and out of your way.
  • Check in on your items every 4 to 6 weeks so you can spot any irregularities or problems in time to take corrective action.

Whether your winter gear has been safely stored away since the last of the snow melted or you’re just getting around to the job now, you can use the advice listed here to help preserve your clothing, blankets, and equipment in great condition until you need it again.

 

End of Ice Cleat Season

flowers in snowIt took a while, but all traces of snow and ice are gone from the parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, and loading docks of the lower 48. That means it’s finally time to put away ice cleats, grips, and other personal traction devices until winter returns and your employees need them again. But instead of simply collecting ice cleats in a box or stuffing them in a supply closet for months on end, take a few minutes to do the following:

  • Inspect each traction device for unusual wear or damage. Be on the lookout for cracked, worn, or rusted studs, over-stretched elastic, broken links, and similar problems.
  • Immediately repair or replace damaged ice cleats with equivalent products from CozyWinters. Attending to known issues now instead of waiting until next winter will ensure your employee safety gear is ready for immediate use in the event of an early or unexpected storm.
  • Consider stocking up on individual replacement spikes and studs so substitutions can be made onsite without any downtime or lost productivity.
  • Store ice cleats and traction devices on a flat, even surface to help them keep their shape. Avoid rolling, bunching, or folding these products for long-term storage.

Ice cleats, stabilizers, and grips are essential to outdoor employee safety in the winter and other times of inclement weather. So extend the useful life of each pair of YakTrax, WinterGrips, Get-a-Grip, or MonsterGrip cleats you own by addressing potential problems early and following the end-of-season storage tips listed above.

Can I Wash Heated Apparel?

Immagini 008With spring taking hold across most of the country, it’s just about time to store your CozyWinters heated apparel and electric blankets until next year. Before you do so, however, it would be a good idea to wash the items to rid them of a season’s worth of sweat, dirt, and funk. That way everything will be clean and ready to use at the first sign of winter’s return.

Of course, the obvious question here is, “Can I safely wash heated apparel?” For a majority of products sold at the CozyWinters online store, the answer is yes—but we recommend that you check the manufacturer’s care instructions first. These can typically be found on the inside label of the garment or at the manufacturer’s website, and should always supersede any other advice for washing that particular item. If the garment or blanket doesn’t have care instructions, you can follow these general guidelines:

  • Disconnect battery pack and store connectors in battery compartment
  • Ensure garment pockets are empty prior to washing
  • Apply stain remover or spot treatment products to heavily soiled areas to improve chances of getting the garment clean on the first try
  • Set washing machine to the gentlest cycle and use only cold or warm water
  • Whenever possible use a mesh washing bag to wash your heated apparel in, especially if it’s provided with the garment
  • When the wash cycle is done, immediately remove items from machine
  • Hang dry on hangers or a clothesline only
  • Do not twist or wring out the garments, as this can damage the heating elements and connection points
  • Battery-heated gloves and 12V heated insoles should be spot-cleaned only
  • Always store heated apparel with batteries removed and cables disconnected

The heated apparel and electric warming products you’ve purchased from CozyWinters are designed to withstand occasional, gentle wash cycles and line drying. As long as you avoid dry cleaning, twisting, and wringing the items, they should emerge from your washing machine in good working order.

Ice Safety for Businesses

ice safety for businessWhen it comes to ice safety in the winter, business owners have to worry about more than just the possibility of employee slip-and-falls. They also have to worry about the possibility of customers, vendors, and other visitors getting injured on the premises due to slippery conditions.

In many municipalities across the country, property owners are legally obligated to keep walkways, driveways, and sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Failure to do so could result in costly litigation should a non-employee sustain an injury, which is why it’s a good idea to take the following precautions:

  • Carefully monitor the weather forecast so you’ll always be prepared to deal with heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Gas up the snow blower, have extra shovels on hand, and stock up on rock salt ahead of impending storms.
  • Make it a habit to inspect and clear your most heavily trafficked walkways on a daily basis. Examine the concrete or asphalt for bulges, cracks, and other abnormalities, and either fix the problem immediately or block off the area until the weather permits you to make repairs.
  • Don’t forget to check handrails and guardrails to ensure they are sturdy enough to act as a stabilizing aid for pedestrians. Again, replace or repair as needed, and keep the tops clear of ice and snow.
  • Provide extra lighting in parking lots, walkways, and entryways to compensate for the shortened daylight hours of winter.
  • Keep your vestibule, lobby, and hallways dry by laying out rubber mats and carpets to trap snow, sleet, and ice from visitors’ For best results, safety experts recommend extending the mats at least 15 to 20 feet from the doorway into the building.

While business owners can compel employees to adhere to winter safety rules, and supply them with ice cleats, it’s simply not possible to force visitors to exercise caution or wear traction devices. Nevertheless, you are on the hook for everyone’s safety and well-being, so help prevent accidents by taking the steps listed here.

How to Choose the Right Heated Pet Bed

Buying a heated pet bed for your dog or cat is an effective and affordable solution to keeping your furry companion warm throughout the winter months. But with so many terrific CozyWinters products to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming for you as a first-time buyer to select the best one. That’s why we’ve put together this brief guide of key points to bear in mind as you shop our site.


Location

cat bedOne important consideration is where the pet bed will be used. Beds designed for outdoor use, including the Thermo-Doggy Cuddle Cushion and the Thermo-Kitty Sleephouse Cat Bed rely on electricity to generate heat, and therefore must be located near a 120V power supply. Indoor beds, on the other hand, may use special insulation to absorb and reradiate heat from your pet’s body without the need for electricity. Examples of self-warming beds include our Lounge Sleeper Dog Bed and Nuzzle Nest pet bed.

kh-1070-1090_HMaterial

Pet beds tend to be made of materials such as fleece, microsuede, memory foam, nylon, or heavy-duty vinyl, and may come with a removable cover that can be machine-washed. We suggest choosing a more durable material if you plan to use the bed outdoors or if your pet typically exhibits destructive chewing/clawing behavior. You can go with softer materials for indoor use, or select memory foam for older pets with arthritis or mobility issues.

Pet Bed Warmers

kh-002-004_BIf your dog or cat already has a favorite bed and is unlikely to be receptive to a new one, you can try using a simple bed warmer instead. This kind of product, which is available in four different sizes, runs on electricity and can be placed under the top cover of an existing pet bed to add warmth when needed.

In addition to the above points, don’t forget to examine the size and style of the prospective bed to ensure that your pet will have plenty of room to get comfortable and that it will be able to climb in and out easily.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in a heated pet bed, visit CozyWinters.com today to check out our entire line of warming products for dogs and cats.