Mary Beth Newns
153 Courthouse Road
Currituck, North Carolina 27929
|Monday - Friday
8:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
|153 Courthouse Road
Currituck, North Carolina 27929
|After Hours Contact
Winter Storm Preparedness
Plan For A Winter Storm
Learn about your area's winter storm risk. Different areas have different risks associated with winter storms. Contact your local Red Cross chapter, Emergency Management office, or local National Weather Service office about your area's winter storm risk.
Understand the hazards of “wind chill,” which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from a person's body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. "Wind chill" is a calculation of how cold it feels when the effects of wind speed and temperature are combined. A strong wind combined with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a still air temperature about 35 degrees colder. Take an American Red Cross first aid course to learn how to treat exposure to the cold, frostbit, and hypothermia.
Service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season. Equipment should be available for use if needed. Maintain it in good working order.
Keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
Discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm WATCH or WARNING is issued. Designate one household member as the winter storm preparedness leader. Have him or her discuss what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Have another household member state what he or she would do if caught outside or in a vehicle during a winter storm. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together. Discussing winter storms ahead of time helps reduce fear and lets everyone know how to respond during a winter storm.
Winter storm supplies should include the following:
A warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat and water-resistant boots for each member of the family. Extra blankets and warm clothing.
Non-clumping kitty litter. Kitty litter will generate temporary traction. Rock salt will melt ice on walkways but can damage vegetation and concrete. Other, less damaging ice melting products are available from building supply stores.
Preparing Your Home For A Winter Storm
Make sure your home is properly insulated. If necessary, insulate walls and attic. This will help you conserve electricity and reduce your home's power demands for heat. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out, allowing the inside temperature to stay warmer longer. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside. This will provide an extra layer of insulation, keeping more cold air out.
To keep pipes from freezing:
- Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers.
- Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.
- Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.
- Know how to shut off water valves.
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). A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution to prevent overheating, also works well.
Consider storing sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off. Be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
Consider keeping safe emergency heating equipment:
- Fireplace with ample supply of wood.
- Small, well-vented wood, coal, or camp stove with fuel.
- Portable space heater or kerosene heater. Check with your local fire department on the legality of using kerosene heaters in your community. Use only the correct fuel for your unit and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Refuel outdoors only, and only when cool. Keep your kerosene heater at least three feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.
- When using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use fire safeguards and ventilate properly. Fire hazard is greatly increased in the winter because alternate heating sources are used without following proper safety precautions.
Before winter, be sure you install and check smoke alarms.
Install snow fences in rural areas to reduce drifting in roads and paths, which could block access to homes, barns, and animals' feed and water.
If you live in a flood-prone area, consider purchasing flood insurance to cover possible flood damage that may occur during the spring thaw. Homeowners' policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program if you are at risk.
The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving.
Before a Winter Storm
Have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
- Wipers and windshield washer fluid
- Ignition system
- Flashing hazard lights
- Exhaust system
- Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the SAE 10w/30 weight variety)
- Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions; however, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
- Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal.
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
- Plan long trips carefully. Listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions. Always travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person.
- If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation.
- Dress warmly. Wear layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing.
- Carry food and water. Store a supply of high energy "munchies" and several bottles of water.
- Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on winter driving.
Winter Car Kit
- Keep these items in your car:
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- Several blankets
- Sleeping bags
- Extra newspapers for insulation
- Plastic bags (for sanitation)
- Extra set of mittens, socks, and a wool cap
- Rain gear and extra clothes
- Small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels
- Small shovel
- Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)
- Booster cables
- Set of tire chains or traction mats
- Cards, games, and puzzles
- Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
- Canned fruit and nuts
- Nonelectric can opener
- Bottled water
If You Are Trapped In A Car During A Blizzard
Stay in the car. Do not leave the car to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You may become disoriented and lost is blowing and drifting snow.
Display a trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna and raise the hood.
Occasionally run engine to keep warm. Turn on the car's engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater when the car is running. Also, turn on the car's dome light when the car is running.
Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.
Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Do minor exercises to keep up circulation.
Clap hands and move arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long. If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
For warmth, huddle together.
Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation.
Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Be aware of symptoms of dehydration.
Information provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.