About 70 percent of winter storm fatalities occur in vehicles. Other fatalities are caused by heart attacks caused by overexertion or hypothermia caused by overexposure to the cold. It is best to stay indoors when a severe winter storm strikes. When shoveling, avoid overexertion. Your heart is already working harder to keep your body warm. Take a break now and then to give your heart a rest!About half of all deaths from exposure to cold are over 60 years of age. Elderly and children under the age of one are the most vulnerable. For these people, keep the indoor temperature above 70 and dress in layers if venturing outside. Since a great deal of body heat escapes from your head, a winter hat is important.
Terms To Be Aware Of...
Winter Weather Advisory- Cold, ice and snow are expected.
Winter Storm Watch- The conditions are favorable for heavy snow and/or ice in the next day or so.
Winter Storm Warning- Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin.
Blizzard Warning- Heavy snow and strong winds produce blinding snowfall, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life threatening wind chill.
Frost/Freeze Warning- Below freezing temperatures are expected.
Have a battery-powered NOAA weather radio and a battery-powered commercial radio on hand along with extra batteries. Food that doesn't require cooking. Extra water for drinking. Rock salt to melt ice on walkways and sand to improve traction. Flashlights, battery-powered lamps and extra batteries in case of a power outage. Candles are a fire hazard.
Preparing For Isolation In Your Home
Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel. Have emergency heating equipment, such as a gas fireplace, wood burning stove, kerosene heater or fireplace. Remember, any of these appliances that are unvented can produce deadly carbon monoxide gas. A carbon monoxide detector with a battery backup is essential. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
Winterize Your Home
Walls and attic space that is well insulated will keep the heat in. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows. Install storm windows or cover with plastic film.
What To Do During A Winter Storm
Listen to radio or television reports for the latest weather information. Dress for the season. Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing. Be sure to include mittens and a hat when venturing outside. Check on your neighbors who may have trouble during a winter storm. Elderly or homebound residents are at particular risk. Make sure they have adequate heating and food. Offer to clear their sidewalk or driveway. Watch for signs of frostbite; a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance of your extremities is an indication. If you have these symptoms, get medical help immediately. Watch for signs of hypothermia- uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness or apparent exhaustion. Get medical help immediately.
Winter Driving Tips
Try to travel during the day and avoid traveling alone if possible. Keep others informed of your route and schedule. Stay on main roads if possible; avoid shortcuts on back roads. Keep you car winterized with the proper solution of antifreeze. Use snow tires. Take your cell phone when traveling. Travel with a full tank of gas. Carry a winter travel kit in your car. This kit should include a shovel, windshield scraper, battery-powered radio, flashlight with extra batteries, water, snack food, mittens, hat, blanket or sleeping bag, tow chains or rope, bag of road salt, sand, a distress flag, booster cables, road map and emergency flares.
If a Storm Stops Your Travel
Pull off the highway. Set your hazard lights to flashing. hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window. Remain in your vehicle! Do not set out on foot unless you see a building close by where you can take shelter. Many people have died trying to walk to a building in heavy snow. A building may seem close but the snow depth can make it a very long journey. Run the engine and heater about every 10 minutes to keep warm. When the engine is running, open the window slightly to prevent any possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure that snow is cleared away from the exhaust pipe. huddle with passengers to keep warm and use your coat, blanket or sleeping bag to keep warm. Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to be alert for rescue crews. Be careful not to use up your cars battery power. If traveling in a rural area, spread a large colored cloth over the snow to attract attention of rescue personnel who may be searching by airplane.