Some good tips from Montgomery County CERT:

As the winter season approaches, consider the following preparedness tips:    

Add the following supplies to your disaster supplies kit

  • Rock salt to melt ice on walkways  
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment  
Prepare your home and family
  • Prepare to shelter in place by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove. 
  • Winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic. 
  • Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm. 
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. 
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts). 
  • Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
  • Have a NOAA weather radio or a hand crank radio to receive weather reports and emergency information.   


Winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins:  

  • Antifreeze levels - ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.  
  • Battery and ignition system - should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.  
  •  Brakes - check for wear and fluid levels.  
  •  Exhaust system - check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning. 
  • Heater and defroster - ensure they work properly. 
  • Lights and flashing hazard lights - check for serviceability.  
  • Windshield wiper equipment - repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level. 
  • Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs. 
  • Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season. 

Place a winter emergency kit in your car that includes:  

  • a shovel 
  • windshield scraper and small broom 
  • flashlight 
  • water 
  • snack food 
  • extra hats, socks and mittens 
  • necessary medications 
  • blanket(s) 
  • booster cables
  • kitty litter or sand/gravel

Dress for the weather:  

  • Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.  
  • Wear gloves and a hat  

If a storm hits

  • Listen to your radio, television or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information.  
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, stay on main roads; avoid back roads and alleys.  
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.  
  • Dress for the weather.  
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack-a major cause of death during the winter.  
  • Watch for signs of frostbite-skin appears white and waxy, numbness or no feeling in that area and/or possible blisters.  
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia-shivering and numbness, confusion or dizziness, stumbling and weakness, slow or slurred speech and shock.  
  • Go to a medical facility immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing signs of hypothermia.   

 

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Comment by Suzi Kaplan on November 7, 2011 at 2:31pm

I try to avoid rock salt, as listed above, for application on sidewalks and stairs. I prefer to use the stuff that's 'pet safe' to avoid damage to dogs, plants and property.

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