Plan and prepare against extreme cold and winter storms urges FEMA
The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the "Deceptive Killers" because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm.
While the danger from winter weather varies across the country, nearly all Americans, regardless of where they live, are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives. That could mean snow or subfreezing temperatures, as well as strong winds or even ice or heavy rain storms. One of the primary concerns is the winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the "Deceptive Killers" because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, 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.
Step 1: Get a Kit
Step 2: Make a Plan
Prepare Your Family
Step 3: Be Informed
Prepare Your Home
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify winter weather
Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways. Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery. Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected. Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two. Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
Blizzard Warning means heavy snow and strong winds will produce a blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill.Frost/Freeze Warning means below freezing temperatures are expected. When a Winter Storm WATCH is issued: Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, and television stations, or cable television such as 'The Weather Channel' for further updates. Be alert to changing weather conditions. Avoid unnecessary travel.
When a Winter Storm WARNING is issued: Stay indoors during the storm. If you must go outside, several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs. Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways. If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate). Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes.
Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects. Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must. Carry an Emergency Supply Kit in the trunk: Keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing. Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route. Eat regularly and drink ample fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal.Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
Listen to Local Officials
Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials. For further information on how to plan and prepare for winter storms as well as what to do during and after a winter storm, visit: Federal Emergency Management Agency, NOAA Watch, or American Red Cross.
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