Winter Weather Preparedness
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is
encouraging everyone to take preventive measures to ensure their safety and
reduce the risk of winter storm damage to property.
Preparing Your Family
a disaster supply kit. Store drinking water, canned/no-cook food,
non-electric can opener, first aid kit, battery-powered radio, flashlight
and extra batteries where you can get them easily, even in the dark. Also
include winter specific items such as rock salt, sand and other snow removal
for the possibility that you will need to stay in your home for several days
after a winter storm. Make sure that you have sufficient heating fuel as
well as emergency heating equipment in case electricity is cut off.
fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating
sources without taking the necessary safety precautions. Keep fire
extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use
ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends and
neighbors or employees.
ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes
and always refuel outside. Keep all heaters at least three feet from
in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than
one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and
water-repellent. Wear a hat, mittens and sturdy, waterproof boots. Cover
your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
Preparing Your Car
cars and other vehicles fueled and in good repair. Winterize your car by
checking your car battery, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashers,
exhaust, heater, brakes, defroster and tires. Ensure that your car has
adequate antifreeze, windshield washer fluid and oil and check regularly
throughout the season.
a winter emergency kit in each car that includes a shovel, windshield
scraper, flashlight, battery powered radio, extra batteries, water, snack
food, extra hats and mittens, blanket, tow chain or rope, road salt and
sand, booster cables, emergency flares and fluorescent distress flag.
traveling by car during a winter weather advisory or winter storm watch, do
so in daylight, don't travel alone, keep others informed of your schedule
and route, and stay on main roads. Avoid driving during a winter storm
warning or blizzard warning.
Preparing Your Home
storm windows or cover windows with plastic, insulate walls and attics, and
apply caulk and weather-stripping to doors and windows.
your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for
your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair
roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other
structure during a storm.
pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a
little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain
unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow - or water, if drains
on flat roofs do not work.
ice and snow from tree limbs, roof and other structures after the storm
Winter Weather Terms
storms accounted for five national major disasters and eight emergency
declarations in 2001 as well as five major disasters and one emergency
declaration to date in 2002. The severe weather damaged homes and businesses
from New York to Oregon.
the terms used by weather forecasters so that you clearly understand the
risk to your family and your community, including:
weather advisory - Winter weather conditions are expected to cause
significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists;
storm watch - Be alert, a storm is possible;
storm warning - Take action, the storm is occurring or will soon occur in
warning - Snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near
zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill - seek
warning - Below freezing temperatures are expected.