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Dec. 9, 2005
Safety Tips from the Local Emergency Planning Committee
Be Prepared for Winter Weather!
The Oswego County Local Emergency Planning Committee is encouraging everyone to take preventive measures to ensure their safety and reduce the risk of winter storm damage to property. Here are some tips to prepare your family, vehicle and home for possible disasters:
Preparing Your Family
- Assemble a disaster supply kit. The kit should include drinking water, canned food, non-electric can opener, first aid kit, battery-powered radio, flashlight with extra batteries, and winter items such as rock salt, sand and snow removal equipment.
- Prepare 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.
- House fires pose an additional risk, as people may use alternative heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
- Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends and neighbors.
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Always re-fuel outside. Keep all heaters at least three feet from flammable objects.
- Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water-repellant. Wear a hat, mittens and sturdy, waterproof boots. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
Preparing Your Vehicle
- Keep 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.
- Place a winter emergency kit in each car. Include 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.
- If traveling by car during winter weather advisory or winter storm watch, do so in the daylight. Do not 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
- Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic, insulate walls and attics, and apply caulk and weather-stripping to doors and windows.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed, or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock, or equipment.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Learn how to shut off water valves, in case a pipe bursts.
- Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow - or water.
- Remove ice and snow from tree limbs, roof, and other structures after the storm passes.
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