Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Weather Preparedness

Be Prepared...Before the Storm Strikes

At home and at work have available:
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (Public Alert) receiver and portable radio
  • Extra food and water
  • Extra medicine and baby items
  • First-aid supplies
  • Heating fuel
  • Emergency heating source
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors
In vehicles (cars, trucks, snowmobiles):
  • Fully check and winterize your vehicle
  • Carry a winter storm survival kit: blankets/sleeping bags, flashlight, first-aid kit, knife, non-perishable food, extra clothing, a large empty can and plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes, a smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water, sand, shovel, windshield scraper, tool kit, tow rope, booster cables, water container, and road maps
  • Keep your gas tank near full
  • Carry a cell phone
  • Let someone know your itinerary

If caught in a Winter Storm

If caught or stranded in a winter storm, use the safety measures outlined below.
At Home or in a Building
  • Stay inside and when using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use fire safeguards and ventilate properly
  • If you have no heat:
    • Close off unneeded rooms
    • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors
    • Cover windows at night
  • Eat and drink as food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat and fluids prevent dehydration
  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing and remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration, and subsequent chill
In a Car or Truck
  • Stay in your vehicle as disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold
  • Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat:
    • To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, open the window a little for fresh air, making sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked
  • Make yourself visible to rescuers by: turning on your dome light at night when running the engine; tying a colored cloth (preferably red) to your vehicle to make it more visible; and raising the hood to indicate trouble after the snow stops falling
  • Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers, and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm
  • Find shelter and try to stay dry, covering all exposed parts of the body
  • If no shelter: prepare a lean-to, windbreak, or snow cave for protection from the wind and build a fire for heat and to attract attention

Winter Storm Driving Considerations

Motorists must remember to adjust driving behaviors during winter weather. When the first snowstorms hit the valley, a higher number of crashes are observed, because people just aren't used to adjusting their driving behaviors for winter conditions. Snow, sleet and ice on the road require drivers to be more diligent, attentive, and cautious. Winter weather conditions can turn small mistakes into serious problems. Please keep the following winter safety driving measures in mind this winter.
Monitor road conditions before departing:
  • Utah Department of Transportation CommuterLink at or via phone at 511 (within Utah) and 866-511-UTAH (out of state)
Drive for the conditions:
  • Slow down
  • Allow extra braking distance
  • Do not tailgate
Allow snowplow operators to do their job:
  • Maintain a safe distance...if salt is hitting your vehicle when following a snowplow, you are too close
  • Avoid passing snowplows on a roadway that is only one lane in each direction
Remain alert for sudden road condition changes:
  • Bridges and overpasses often become icy first
  • Snow and blowing snow can produce sudden restrictions in visibility
Information provided by the National Weather Service.

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