Being prepared for winter after all the extreme weather we have already had, seems like an understatement. Here in New York it has been a crazy winter (Coney Island today) but the south has really seen their fare share. Did you know the National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. People die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.
Before winter weather hits have an ’emergency kit’ stocked and ready. This disaster kit should include flashlights, batteries,blankets, bottled water, and food. Things like peanut butter, nuts, crackers, dried fruit, canned juice, and protein bars. Also have copies of ID or other important documents in a sealed baggie. Remember medicines and stock your kit based on any health issues such as food allergies. A hand cranked radio or NOAA weather radio is a must. Have a mini version of a first-aid kit with band-aids and the like. Also include moist wipes for hands, trash bags for sanitation purposes, dust masks and maybe a wrench or pliers to turnoff utilities.
During winter storms, stay indoors. If you must get out, walk carefully, let someone know where you are going and the route you are taking to get there but your best bet is to stay out of the car. Overexertion when shoveling snow can bring on a heart attack. Stretch before going out and do your shoveling in small doses, not one long driveway &/or sidewalk in one attempt. Watch for frostbite and hypothermia. These are very dangerous and could cause loss of life and limb. A carbon monoxide detector is a must. Do not use charcoal grills and the like indoors. Kerosene heaters can build up toxic fumes so allow for ventilation if this is your heating source.
After a winter storm and you can safely get out, check for damage to your home, water pipes, & pilot lights on stoves. Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold. TextSHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345). Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. A few simple common sense steps before a storm can greatly affect how you will ride out the rough weather