Keeping Warm This Winter

When I woke up this morning it was 29 degrees outside my front door. A bit too cold to snow, thank goodness, but darn cold nonetheless. Despite my intense dislike of winter, it’s here to stay for a few months.  While, I’m desperately hoping otherwise, I fully expect to get slammed with a snow storm or two in the coming months.

With recent occurrence of Sandy, I started wondering about my preparedness for other types of inclement weather, in particular snow storms. To that end I found myself on Ready.gov, a FEMA website that gives you information about dealing with all manner of extreme weather.  Here’s just a little bit of what I found about being ready to deal winter storms and extreme cold.

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.

  • Before winter approaches,put together emergency kits for both your car and house. You can visit Ready.gov for details on what to include in both kits.
  • Make a Communication Plan. If your family isn’t together at the time of the storm make sure you all know how to contact on another and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Listen check your  local news channels forl information from the National Weather Service. Stay up to date on changing weather conditions.
  • Travel only if necessary and  keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle. 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.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. (They may have fur coats but they need warmth just like us please bring them inside during the winter months.)
  • If you must go outside during a storm, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
    • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
    • Wear a hat. A hat will prevent loss of body heat.
    • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

Should you get stranded in your car in a storm:

  • Pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window.
  • Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a  window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
  • Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for rescue crews.
  • Turn on the inside light at night so work crews or rescuers can see you.
  • Leave the car and proceed on foot – if necessary – once the blizzard passes.

Stay safe and warm out there this winter.

~Rayna

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