Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winter Weather Safety Tips

Be Prepared Before the Storm Strikes!
When preparing your home or workplace for the upcoming winter season, keep in mind that the primary concerns deal with the loss of heat, power and telephone service, along with a shortage of supplies if a winter storm continues for an extended period of time.

Make sure to have the following supplies available:
Flashlight and extra batteries Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information - these may be your only links to the outside. Extra food and water. Have high energy food, such as dried fruit, nuts and granola bars, and food which requires no cooking or refrigeration. Extra medicine and baby items. First-aid supplies. Heating fuel. Refuel BEFORE you are empty. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a winter storm. Emergency heat source: fireplace, wood stove, space heater. Use properly to prevent a fire, and remember to ventilate properly. Fire extinguisher and smoke alarm. Test smoke alarms once a month to ensure they work properly.

On the farm and for pets:
Move animals into sheltered areas. Shelter belts, properly laid out and oriented, are better protection for cattle than confining shelters. Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.  Have plenty of water available. Most animals die from dehydration in winter storms.  Make sure your pets have plenty of food, water and shelter.

What should I do if caught...
Outside:    Find shelter!  Attempt to stay dry. Cover all exposed body parts.
If there is no shelter available:  Build a lean-to, windbreak, or snow cave to protect yourself from the wind.  Build a fire for heat and to attract attention. Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat. Melt snow for drinking water, eating snow will lower your body temperature.

In a Vehicle:  Stay in the vehicle! You could quickly become disoriented in wind-driven snow and cold. Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat. Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked. Be visible to rescuers! Turn on the dome light at night when running the engine Tie a colored cloth, preferably red, to your antenna or door. After the snow stops falling, raise the hood to indicate you need help. Exercise from time to time, move arms, legs fingers, and toes vigorously to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

Inside:  Stay inside! When using alternate heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use fire safeguards and properly ventilate. If you don’t have heat available: Close off unneeded rooms.  Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors. Cover windows at night.  Eat and drink, providing the body with energy and preventing dehydration. Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill.


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