Although winter has just officially started according to the calendar, the depth of the snow outside tells a different story in Delta County. Winter and snowstorms are going to be here for awhile.
Would you have everything in you would need in your home if you were stranded for a couple of days due to a massive snowstorm?
If your vehicle got stuck in the snow, would you have the equipment available to wait it out until help arrived?
Take a look at these tips on how to prepare for winter. Then, ask yourself if you are really ready for winter.
- Keep handy a battery-powered flashlight, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio and portable radio, extra food (canned or dried food is best), can opener, and bottled water (at least three gallons per person). Fully charge all mobile and home telephones.
- Make sure each member of the household has a warm coat, gloves, hat and water-resistant boots. Ensure extra blankets and heavy clothes are available.
- Keep on hand items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
- Keep on hand items for your pets. Animals feel the effects of wind chill. Be sure to have suitable shelter with food and water.
- Be aware of potential fire and carbon monoxide hazards if you plan to use an emergency heating source such as a fireplace, wood stove or space heater.
- Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. Sweating could lead to chill and hypothermia, and abnormally low body temperatures. Cold weather also puts extra strain on the heart, so the elderly and those with heart conditions should be especially cautious when out in the cold.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing in layers, with a waterproof outer layer. Wear a wool hat and mittens.
- Keep your clothes dry. Change wet socks and clothing quickly to prevent loss of body heat.
- Understand the hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away from a person's body more rapidly which could lead to severe hypothermia.
- Be sure the vehicle is winterized by late fall. This includes having the proper mix of antifreeze and water in the cooling system, topping off the windshield washing solution, and checking the tire treads. Have a mechanic check the belts, hoses, tires, battery, and coolant.
- Keep the fuel tank near full, as low fuel levels can cause condensation to form, degrading fuel quality and possibly causing the fuel line to freeze. Additionally, gas stations may be closed during a severe winter storm, so it is wise to fill up if storm warnings are being broadcasted.
Your car should always be equipped with emergency supplies. Keep the following items stored in a portable container:
- A small battery powered radio (AM is sufficient) and extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Cellular phone / Phone book and phone list
- Windshield scraper
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Maps / GPS Unit
- Blanket and extra clothes
- Bottled water and non-perishable, high energy foods (granola bars, canned nuts, raisins, hard candy, trail mix, peanut butter and crackers)
- First aid kit
- Tire repair kit and pump
- Tow chain or rope and Shovel
- De-icer and extra antifreeze
- "Call Police" or other "Help" sign