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How Not To Start a Car in Extreme Cold

Monday, January 12, 2009

For those of you who do not live in Alaska, I am going to tell you about dealing with the extreme cold weather we have here.

I am sure you remember that I am always telling people to have their winter gear in the car. I finally gave in and purchased a pair of snow pants. I do have a pair that were hand me downs from my son. I kept them in the trunk in case of emergency but never actually got them out to use.

I purchased a pair that was on sale for 50 % off and they have become one of my favorite clothing pieces. Can’t believe I have lived here as long as I have without dressing appropriately. I even broke down and bought a hat. Although, when it is 50 below zero and you have to get gas and the pump is not one that you can leave running without holding, you cannot get enough winter gear on.

After my first day of putting on all of my gear, I think I figured out why it took me so long. I put on my lovely scarf that the accounting manager had made me, wrapped it around my neck, I had already out on my bib snow pants, as I leaned over to put my boots on, the scarf got caught in my boot, which made me stumble which resulted in my falling and hitting my head on my desk which resulted in me falling completely over on the floor. This is why it took me so long to dress appropriately. I had no idea it could be so dangerous. Haven’t figured out which is worse, the extreme cold outside or me trying to dress myself for the weather. I did start moving completely away from my desk when bundling up.

I can also tell you one thing NOT to do if your vehicle becomes frozen and won’t start. We have HBO outlets that we plug our vehicles into when it gets cold.
And I am not talking about the HBO you watch on the television. So, if you visit and think that we are all driving electric cars because we have plugs sticking out of the front of the car, we are not. It is to keep them warm and running in the extreme weather.

So, if you leave your vehicle here for a month, plugged in and not started at all, chances are pretty good, they will not start. Do NOT light charcoal on fire underneath your car. First, it may freak out some employees and lots of people driving by. There are quite a few car fires every winter around here. While in staff meeting, we here the driver over the radio yelling there is a fire in the parking lot. The FD clerk waves frantically for me. I run over and find out that the guest has lit the fire under his car himself and has it under control. We go back to our meeting and a few minutes later, the owner gets a call asking him why we have an ambulance and fire trucks in the parking lot. Again, we go running. Some one had called 911 after seeing the fire. The guest did get his car started since it had warmed up 20 degrees under the car. The fire department did ensure that he was informed it was not the wisest choice to make to start a fire under the car.

So, if you do find yourself in the situation where your car does not start, please remember that are several very safe and reliable methods to get your car started. BBQ is not one of them.