Winter weather brings cold, ice, snow, and high winds to many areas of our country. To help deal with these conditions, here are some important safety tips to consider:
- Know what winter storm WATCHES and WARNINGS mean. A winter storm WATCH means a winter storm is possible in your area. A winter storm WARNING means a winter storm is headed for your area. A blizzard WARNING means strong winds, blinding wind-driven snow, and dangerous wind chills are expected.
- Gather essential supplies, including flashlights, a radio, first aid kit, protective clothing and winter wear, canned foods, and at least three gallons of water (preferably more).
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, The Weather Channel and local television broadcasts for the latest information about storm conditions.
- If you must drive and your car becomes stuck, stay with your car. Don't try to walk to safety.
- Use a flashlight if the power is out at home. Do not use candles or other open flames indoors. More people have died after recent winter storms from residential fires caused by candles than from the direct effects of the storm itself.
- If you use portable space heaters at home, do so very carefully. Keep heaters at least three feet away from any combustible material, including drapes, carpeting, and furniture. Do not drape gloves, socks, or other clothing over a space heater to dry. Turn space heating equipment off when you are not in the room. Keep children and pets away from heating equipment. Fuel-filled equipment should be filled outdoors when completely cool.
Winter storms can happen quickly and sometimes without warning. Early preparation is advised. For additional information on preparing for winter storms and other disasters, contact your local American Red Cross chapter.