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Winter Weather Safety

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Winter storms in Forsyth County can be very deceptive as they create conditions that lead to dangerous and deadly situations; most deaths are unrelated to the actual storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads or of hypothermia from lengthy exposure to cold. Deaths and injuries related to winter weather can be prevented. Everyone should take four simple steps to get ready for an emergency: 1) have a plan;  2) practice it; 3) have an emergency supplies kit; and 4) stay informed about weather and traffic conditions to  help keep your family safe this winter.

Four Simple Steps

The first step is to write a plan, which should be a thought-out list of whom to call, where to meet and any special considerations that may need to be addressed. Once you have a plan in place, be sure to discuss it with your family and then practice it!

Once a plan is in place, build an emergency supplies kit for your home and your car. Besides the standard items – non-perishable food and water for each person for three to seven days, medications, and important papers – you should also include rock salt, sand, snow shovels, extra warm clothes and blankets. Ensure a flash light, battery operated radio, extra batteries, and a first-aid kit are on hand.

Finally, pay attention to the weather forecast and stay informed about potential storms. All residents need to monitor changing weather conditions by listening carefully to their National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio, local radio and television stations for storm watches or warnings. Real time traffic and weather conditions can also be found on the state’s free ReadyNC mobile app.

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Winter Preparations

During the cold winter months, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur from improper heating. The colorless, odorless carbon monoxide gas can be deadly and is produced from fuel-burning appliances, generators and heaters. Without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide fumes can accumulate causing headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. While preparing for winter weather, remember to always keep charcoal grills and portable camping equipment outdoors. Forsyth County emergency management also remind residents to install a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of their home, near sleeping areas, and to check the batteries regularly.

To prepare your home for winter weather, add insulation to walls and attics, and keep an adequate supply of heating fuel on hand. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows and insulate water pipes to keep them from freezing. Remember to keep generators away from the home. Never run a generator in the garage or other enclosed area.

Information provided by American Red Cross and NOAA

Drive Safely, Use Caution

Snow and ice can cause hazardous driving conditions which lead to massive traffic delays. Keep in mind that road conditions can quickly change. When driving in winter weather, remember to reduce your speed and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.

Other winter driving tips to remember are:

  • Approach bridges and overpasses with caution since they often become icy prior to roadways. Do not push your breaks while on a bridge.
  • If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not push the brakes.
  • If you need to pull off the highway, set your directional lights to “flashing.”
  • Do not go out on foot unless you see a building nearby to take shelter.
  • If running the engine to keep warm, crack the window open to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never let everyone in the car sleep at once. One person should stay awake to watch for rescue crews. Tie a colored cloth to the antenna or door to make yourself visible.

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Information provided by American Red Cross and NOAA

ReadyFORSYTH.org, and ReadyNC.org provide additional winter preparedness information.

 

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