drinking water, first aid kit, canned/no-cook food, non-electric can
opener, radio, flashlight and extra batteries where you can get them
easily, even in the dark.
and other vehicles fueled and in good repair, with a winter emergency
kit in each.
Get a NOAA
Weather Radio to monitor severe weather.
Know how the
public is warned (siren, radio, TV, etc.) and the warning terms for each
kind of disaster in your community; e.g.:
"winter storm watch" ---
Be alert, a storm is likely
"winter storm warning" ---
Take action, the storm is in or entering the area
"blizzard warning" ---
Snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near zero
visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill--seek refuge
"winter weather advisory"
--- Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant
inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists
"frost/freeze warning" ---
Below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause damage to
plants, crops, or fruit trees
"flash flood or flood watch"
--- Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a
"flash flood warning" ---
A flash flood is imminent--act quickly to save yourself because you
may have only seconds
"flood warning" ---
Flooding has been reported or is imminent--take necessary precautions
routes from home, work and school to high ground.
Know how to
contact other household members through a common out-of-state contact in
the event you and have to evacuate and become separated.
Know how to
turn off gas, electric power and water before evacuating.
of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends,
neighbors or employees.
plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, sandbags and hand tools on hand and
your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter
for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Install storm
shutters, doors and windows; clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks; and
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.
If you think
you might want to volunteer in case of a disaster, now is the time to
let voluntary organizations or the emergency services office
cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Preparing
your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or
lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving. BEFORE Have a
mechanic check the following items on your car.
windshield washer fluid
(if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the SAE
10w/30 weight variety)
good winter tires.
Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually
adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require
that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or
snow tires with studs. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice
and snow removal. Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter
season. Plan long trips carefully. Listen to the radio or call the state
highway patrol for the latest road conditions. Always travel during
daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person. If you must go
out during a winter storm, use public transportation. Dress warmly. Wear
layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Carry food and
water. Store a supply of high energy "munchies" and several bottles of
water. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red
Cross chapter for more information on winter driving.
Keep these items in your car:
with extra batteries
kit with pocket knife
newspapers for insulation
Extra set of
mittens, socks, and a wool cap
and extra clothes
of sand for generating traction under wheels
(pliers, wrench, screwdriver)
Set of tire
chains or traction mats
games, and puzzles
colored cloth to use as a flag
IN CAR DURING A BLIZZARD
Stay in the car. Do not leave the car to search for assistance unless
help is visible within 100 yards. You may become disoriented and lost is
blowing and drifting snow.
trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna and
raise the hood.
run engine to keep warm. Turn on the car's engine for about 10 minutes
each hour. Run the heater when the car is running. Also, turn on the car's
dome light when the car is running.
of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly
signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
exercises to keep up circulation.
Clap hands and
move arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too
long. If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation.
overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart.
Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on
a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Be aware of
symptoms of dehydration.
Wind Chill -
"Wind chill" is a calculation of how cold it feels outside when the
effects of temperature and wind speed are combined. A strong wind combined
with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a
still air temperature about 35 degrees colder.
Storm Watches and Warnings
A winter storm watch indicates that severe winter weather may affect your
area. A winter storm warning indicates that severe winter weather
conditions are definitely on the way.
warning means that large amounts of falling or blowing snow and
sustained winds of at least 35 miles per hour are expected for several
Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently
damage its victims. A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in
fingers, toes, or nose and ear lobes are symptoms of frostbite.
a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 90
degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable
shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and
or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek
immediate medical assistance. Warm the person's trunk first. Use your own
body heat to help. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation
of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart
Put person in
dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket.
Never give a
frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine in it (like coffee
or tea) or alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat
faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body. Alcohol, a
depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold