Wednesday, February 4, 2009

winter storm info

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With winter rapidly approaching (and spring too), every family should be prepared to face another period of dangerous winter storms and flooding. To stay safe, prepare a disaster supplies kit and a family communications plan; prepare your home against the cold; learn what winter storm watches and warnings mean; and if stranded in your car away from home, know what steps to take.

Assemble an emergency supply kit with:

Non-perishable food;
Water- enough for three days;
A battery -powered or hand-cranked radio;
Flashlights and batteries;
Rock salt to melt ice on walkways;
Extra blankets, gloves and warm clothing.
Make a family plan to include:
How to contact one another if not together when disaster strikes;
How and where to reassemble.
Prepare your home by:
Insulating with weather stripping around doors and windowsills;
Insulating pipes with plastic or newspapers and allow water from faucets to drip a little to avoid freezing;
Learning how to shut off water valves if a pipe bursts;
Keeping fire extinguishers on hand and knowing how to use them;

Become familiar with winter weather terms:

Winter Storm Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected;
If traveling by car:
Carry an emergency supply kit;
Keep the gas tank full;
Let someone know your destination, route, and when you expect to arrive;
If you do get stuck, stay with your car, keep the overhead light on when the engine is running (and windows cracked) so you can be seen.

Winter storms can arrive before the official beginning of winter. Visit, and for a thorough look into disaster preparedness and a more detailed list of emergency supplies. Also, is an excellent resource for information on how to involve children in the process of assembling the family's Disaster Supply Kit.

P.S. If you don’t have carbon monoxide monitors in your house, you need them (one by the dryer and one by the furnace). Remember that improper venting of appliances produce carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas. In sufficient amounts, it may be deadly to humans. Usually headaches and/or flu like symptoms are the initial signs of CO poisoning. You can call the fire department for an immediate inspection.

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