Emergency officials offer winter safety tips - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Emergency officials offer winter safety tips

Source: Columbia County Emergency Operations Division Source: Columbia County Emergency Operations Division

We’ve had mild weather as this year draws to a close, but keep in mind, winter hasn’t even begun yet. The February 2014 ice storm in the CSRA presents an example of how winter weather can turn from heavenly to hazardous.

During that storm, hundreds were left without power. Some sought shelter, and some toughed it out at home for days. The disaster cost tens of millions of dollars in clean-up damage and emergency response costs.

As you prepare for the upcoming winter, the Columbia County EMA has provided the following tips in case our weather again turns severe:

• Prepare a “Ready kit” of emergency supplies for your home. Include with at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, water, a flashlight with extra batteries, a NOAA Weather Radio, adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm, as well as additional supplies for the unique needs of your family, such as medication.

• Keep an extra Ready kit in the trunk of your car. In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding a car phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.

• Create an emergency communications plan so family members will know who to contact if separated during a storm. Designate at least one out-of-town contact who all family members can call. Determine a way to let family and friends know you’re OK if the power goes out. Create a customized plan for your family using the Ready Georgia website or mobile app.

• Make sure you have a way to stay informed about winter weather. Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio or other battery-operated radio to monitor changing winter weather conditions. Download the Ready Georgia mobile app, which includes geo-targeted severe weather and emergency alerts that will notify your phones before disasters strike.

• Winterize your vehicle and keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent your fuel line from freezing.

• Winterize your home by placing weather stripping around doors and windows. During cold weather, allow faucets to drip, and open cabinet doors to let heat reach un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

• Identify an alternate heat source, like a fireplace or wood-burning stove, and stock sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.

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