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Protect yourself before a winter storm

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BY DAVID LILLY

Owen County Emergency Management Director

Plan now to be able to stay where you are when a storm hits. If you are not at home when the storm starts, you may need to stay where you are until the roads are safe. This means having basic supplies of food and water in several locations, including your workplace, vehicle, and, if possible, other places where you and members of your household regularly spend time (e.g., house of worship, community center, and school). 

ASSEMBLING EMERGENCY SUPPLIES

 

You may be without power and heat for several days. Have a family discussion; think through what three days without power, water, or heat would feel like. Gather the basic supplies your family would need if grocery stores and other services are unavailable; if power, water, and gas is interrupted; or if you cannot leave your home. Be sure to review your emergency supplies every fall. Basic emergency supplies should include the following, most of which you probably already have in your home.

WATER – Ensure you have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days. (Store a longer than 3-day supply of water, if possible). An average person needs to drink about 3/4 of a gallon of fluid daily. Individual needs vary depending on age, gender, health, level of activity, food choices, and climate. You may also need stored water for food preparation.

FOOD – Store at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food for members of your household, including pets.Consider special dietary needs (e.g., infant formula). Include a non-electric can opener for canned food.

FLASHLIGHT, RADIO, and CELL PHONE CHARGER – You will need to be able to charge these items without electricity. Your flashlight and radio should be either hand-cranked or battery-powered, and stored with extra batteries. Your cell phone charger should be hand-crank, solar, or able to be charged from a car outlet.

MEDICAL – Include first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription/over-the-counter medications, and medical supplies.

SANITATION – Pack supplies for sanitation, such as hand sanitizer, towelettes, paper products, diapers, and plastic bags, for use when water resources are limited.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY – Include battery backup power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen, and other assistive technology needs.

EXTRA CLOTHING, BLANKETS, and SLEEPING BAGS – Dress in layers to keep warm if you lose power. Ensure you have enough clothing, hats, mittens, and blankets or sleeping bags for everyone in the house.ITEMS FOR SNOW AND ICE – Stock up on rock salt to melt ice on walkways or sand or kitty litter to improve traction and snow shovels or other snow removal equipment.

WOOD – Store a supply of dry, seasoned wood if you have a working fireplace or wood-burning stovewith a safe flue or vent. 

It is important to consider the unique needs of your family, including access and functional needs, and the needs of children and pets. You may need to include: extra water; special food, such as infant formula or pet food; and supplies or equipment, such as diapers, glasses, or medical equipment.

 

Stay home!

· Stay off the roads during severe weather conditions;

· Have enough water and non-perishable foods for at least 72 hours;

· Have emergency supplies and refill your prescriptions; 

· Wear layered clothing and use blankets or sleep bags to stay warm; and

· Avoid using generators, outdoor heating or cooking equipment, such as a grill, camp stove, or gasoline propane heater indoors.

 

On the Road? 

· Drive slowly and keep clear of snow plows;

· Wear layers of clothes to keep warm;

· Charge your cell phone and minimize usage; and 

· Try to keep a full tank of gas to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

· Keep a kit in your car with water, food, flashlight and radio with extra batteries, blankets, shovel, kitty liter.