Time to Prepare for Winter Weather
As the winter season approaches, the National Weather Service encourages people to prepare for extreme winter conditions by taking the following steps:
– Check your vehicle’s battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer, ignition, thermostat, and tires.
– Even if you do not make long trips, put a winter survival kit in each vehicle–you may need it if your car breaks down or you have an accident. It should contain a windshield scraper, jumper cables, tool kit, tow chain or rope, tire chains, bag of sand or cat litter, shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, warm boots, coat, hat, gloves, and a blanket. For longer trips; add extra clothes, sleeping bags, a portable radio, high-calorie nonperishable food, matches and candles, and large coffee cans for sanitary purposes or burning candles.
– Keep an adequate supply of fuel for your home or get an alternative heating source. Learn how to operate stoves, fireplaces, and space heaters safely and have proper ventilation to use them.
– Add insulation to your home; caulk and weather-strip doors and window sills; install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.
– Have emergency supplies at home; such as flashlights, candles, matches, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, and a first-aid kit.
– Monitor Internet web sites, NOAA Weather Radio, or local radio or television stations for forecasts and information about impending storms.
Know the terms used to describe hazardous winter weather and what actions to take for each situation.
A WINTER STORM WATCH means a dangerous winter storm is possible. WATCHES are issued to give people time to prepare for hazardous conditions before they develop. When a WATCH is in effect:
– Postpone trips or take a different route. Put a survival kit in your vehicle. Tell someone your schedule and route; call them when you arrive at your destination. If possible, travel in daylight and use major highways. Keep your fuel tank as full as possible to avoid ice in the tank and lines.
– At home; have high energy food or food that requires no cooking, one gallon of water per day for each person, and enough fuel for the duration of the storm. Don’t forget special items for your family such as prescription medicine, baby formula and diapers, and pet food!
– Consider having elderly, ill, or oxygen-dependent family, friends, and neighbors who live in rural areas stay someplace where heat and electric power are available.
WINTER STORM AND BLIZZARD WARNINGS mean a dangerous storm will occur.
– Do not travel. You are safer to stay where you are rather than risk getting stranded in a ditch.
– If you have no heat, close off unneeded rooms and wear extra clothes.
– Do not operate power generators indoors.
WIND CHILL WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES stress the increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia during cold and windy conditions.
– Stay inside as much as possible. If you go outdoors; wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing and water-repellent outer garments. Cover all parts of your body; especially your head, face, and hands.
– When working outdoors, do not overexert yourself. Remove damp clothing as soon as possible to avoid becoming chilled.
Additional information on preparing for winter weather is available from your county emergency management office, American Red Cross, or National Weather Service at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/index.shtml