Ways you can prepare for severe winter weather

Ways you can prepare for severe winter weather
Snow in Gordon, Neb. (Courtesy Photo)

The National Weather Service office in Omaha/Valley issued a blizzard warning Saturday afternoon – ranging from extreme southwest Nebraska and northern Kansas to southeast Nebraska, southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri.

Local agencies have different steps and tips that you can use to prepare for a winter weather emergency.

The Otoe County Emergency Management office has given a few steps that you can do to prepare before the storm strikes and during the storm.

Before:

  • Make sure to have fresh groceries that will last through the duration of the storm
  • Have a supply of fresh drinkable water
  • Check to make sure your furnace is running correctly

During :

  • When conditions start to turn for the worse, travel as little as possible or non at all

The Department of Homeland Security also has tips on how to prepare yourself for a winter emergency.

What you should know about Winter Weather

  • Know what to do before, during, and after a winter storm.
  • Listen to local officials.
  • Have emergency supplies in place at home, at work, and in the car.
  • Stay off the road during and after a winter storm.
  • Have a carbon monoxide alarm in place, especially if using alternative heating devices.
  • Use safe heating devices.

Emergency Kit

  • Get ahead of Winter storms by making sure your emergency kit for your car is fully stocked
  • Keep water, non-perishable food, and an extra set of warm clothes in the car in case you get stranded during winter weather
  • Prepare for winter by keeping an emergency supply kit in your car with these extras:
    • Jumper cables
    • Flares or reflective triangle
    • Ice scraper
    • Car cell phone charger
    • Cat litter or sand for better tire traction

Outdoors & Traveling

  • Cold can kill. Dress in layers, cover skin and limit time outside.
  • Shoveling snow can be a health risk, so remember to take it easy.
  • Stay off icy roads when advisories & watches are issued.
  • Follow directions from local officials & build an emergency car kit.
  • Stay off roads during & after a Winter Storm. If you must drive “Don’t Crowd the Plow!”
  • Prepare your car for winter: keep your gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Ice and snow, take it slow—slower speed, slower acceleration, slower steering, and slower braking.
  • Clear snow & ice off of fire hydrants so fire departments can gain access.
  • Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than one bulky sweater.
  • When it’s freezing limit time outside and check on your neighbors!
  • Freezing temperatures increase frostbite risk.
  • Many people die each year from heart attacks brought on by shoveling snow. Pace yourself & get your neighbors involved.

Pets

  • Bring your furry friends inside when temperatures take a dip!
  • Wipe dog’s paws after each trip outside. Ice-melting chemicals or rock salt can cause irritation, sickness or be fatal.
  • Your pet may think antifreeze is sweet, but it can be deadly. 

Heating Safety

  • Space heaters cause 1/3 of home heating fires and 4/5 home heating fires deaths.
  • Heating is the 2nd leading cause of home fires after cooking.
  • Shivering, memory loss, and slurred speech signs of hypothermia.
  • Staying warm with a space heater? Make sure it has an auto shut-off in case it tips over.
  • Winter fires can be deadly. When using your fireplace always keep a metal or heat tempered screen around it to stay safe.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from a fireplace, wood stove, or space heater.
  • If you’re running a portable generator, you need to have a working Carbon Monoxide alarm in your home.
  • NEVER use a generator, camp stove, charcoal grill, gasoline or propane heater indoors.
  • NEVER heat a home by using the stovetop or oven.
  • Keep generators outside at least 20 feet away from doors, windows, and vents to avoid accidental CO poisoning.
  • Wear layered clothing and use blankets to stay warm during a Winter Storm.
  • Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths in the U.S.

Winter Weather preparedness tips provided by the Department of Homeland Security. For more tips go to their website: Ready.gov 

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