Winter is officially here, and with it comes the danger of severe winter weather including snow storms and extreme cold temperatures. While you can’t change the weather, there are some things folks can do to prepare themselves for the possible dangers.
Harlan County Emergency Management Director David McGill pointed out a few steps people can take to winterize their homes.
“Steps you can take include wrapping your pipes up and closing any excess openings, just trying to tighten up your house a little bit,” McGill explained. “Also, keep in mind any open flames. Make sure you don’t have any open flames near drapes or anything else that could catch fire relatively easily. Don’t leave anything burning when you leave your home.”
McGill pointed out any heaters should be far enough away from furniture or other flammable materials to avoid catching fire.
“Having smoke detectors in your home is vital,” McGill said. “Smoke detectors save lives all the time, and they’re relatively inexpensive.”
Smoke detectors can be purchased at many local retail outlets, McGill said. He also recommended having an emergency kit on-hand in case the electricity goes out.
“Make sure you have extra blankets, non-perishable food, canned food, flashlights, a battery powered radio, things you can use without having the electricity on,” McGill said. “This not only goes for winter weather, but any type of emergency.”
McGill mentioned it is always a good idea to inspect chimneys and heaters before use.
“Make sure you have your chimney and furnace inspected,” McGill said. “The colder it is, the harder those things work. You need to make sure they’re in good working order.”
McGill said people should pay attention to weather forecasts in order to be ready for incoming severe weather. He said his office will work with media as well as posting any warnings of severe weather on their Facebook page.
McGill also gave some pointers in the event you are caught out in a vehicle during severe weather.
“Make sure you have an ice scraper, a snow brush, a can of deicer, a small snow shovel, flares, triangles, a bag of salt or sand, a flashlight, battery cables, tire chains, blankets, and also some non-perishable food as well,” McGill said. “Have a kit in your vehicle. That way, if something happens you’ll be prepared.”
McGill added it is a good idea to have a cell phone with you when traveling.
“If you’ve got a cell phone, make sure before you leave that it’s fully charged,” McGill said. “Have a charging device with you if possible. If something happens, stay off the phone as much as possible and use it only to talk to emergency personnel.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde