With the winter season approaching, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reminds individuals to be prepared for winter storms and extreme cold. While the danger of severe winter weather varies across the country, everyone can benefit by taking a few easy steps now to prepare for emergencies. A first step, regardless of where you live, is to visit the Ready.gov website to find preparedness ideas you can use all year long. “In our part of the country we make the most of winter,” said FEMA Region VIII Acting Administrator Tony Russell. “However, severe storms and blizzards can create major problems and residents need to take winter weather seriously by taking appropriate steps to prepare.”
Severe winter weather can include snow or subfreezing temperatures, strong winds and ice or heavy rain storms. An emergency supply kit both at home and in the car will help prepare you and your family for winter power outages and icy or impassable roads.
Both kits should include a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. In addition, your home kit should include a three day supply of food and water. Thoroughly check and update your family’s emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:
- Rock salt to melt ice on walkways,
- Sand to improve traction on driveways and sidewalks,
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment,
- And adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm.
When traveling in winter weather conditions, be sure to contact someone both before your departure and when you safely arrive. Always travel with a cell phone and ensure the battery is charged so you can contact someone in the case of a road emergency. If dangerous conditions are forecast, it’s often best to delay travel plans.
Finally, make sure to familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a winter storm hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe a winter storm hazard include the following:
- 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.
For more information and winter preparedness tips, please visit: www.ready.gov/winter-weather or www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/ or www.fema.gov/about-region-viii/winter-weather-readiness.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.