Published On: Mon, Dec 6th, 2010
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Be prepared as Winter Approaches

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

                It may still technically be fall, but it is surely beginning to look and feel like winter outside.  And, now is the time to take precautions to prepare yourself and family for winter weather. 

Ice and snow-covered trees sway near power lines in the Yellowhill Community following a winter storm this past January. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather)

               “We’ve had a very warm and pleasant fall, but we know it may not last,” said Reuben Young, NC Crime Control and Public Safety secretary.  “Many parts of our states saw several snowfalls last year and our mountains and foothills were especially hit hard in December and January.” 

                FEMA officials warned last week, “With temperatures dropping and snowflakes beginning to fall, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says that now is the time to take a few easy steps to prepare for emergencies.” 

                FEMA recommends an emergency kit to include:  battery or hand-crank powered radio, extra flashlights and batteries, a week’s supply of food and water, adequate clothing and blankets for warmth, and adequate first aid supplies. 

                Mollie Grant, EBCI Emergency Management, stated, “Based on past winters, I would like to ask the community to prepare by conducting the following safety tips:

  • Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel as regular fuel sources may be cut off.
  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
  • Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment.  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.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.  House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
  • 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.
  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow or water if drains on flat roofs do not work.
  • If you have a well house, turn the light on to assist in keeping the pipes warm.
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and weather radios.
  • Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
  • Prepare an emergency kit and store it in your vehicle that includes:  blankets, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, batter booster cables and flares, a tire repair kit and pump, cat litter (for tire traction), a tow rope, bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods such as granola bars, extra clothing to keep dry, and a windshield scraper and brush.”

             If you have questions about preparing for winter weather, contact EBCI Emergency Management (828) 554-6434 or (828) 554-6433.

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