At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.
New Year – Get Prepared
With the start of a new year, many of us have once again made a resolution to live a more healthy life, shop less and save more, donate to a charitable organization, among many others. And although it’s sometimes difficult to keep the momentum after the first couple of weeks in the New Year, why not make a few small and simple changes to help you and your loved ones prepare for an emergency?
Disasters can strike anywhere, at any moment, so it’s important to make sure you and your families are prepared. Here are a few simple tips to help get you prepared should an emergency occur:
- Set a monthly reminder in your calendar to test your home’s smoke alarms – the first of every month in your personal or work calendar can serve as a great reminder to test your smoke alarms. While you’re testing your smoke alarm, practice your emergency escape plan. After all, practice makes perfect.
- Be Informed and Make a Plan - Not all communities in a state or territory share the same risks, so it’s important to learn what to do should a disaster strike in your area. Visit www.ready.gov for a list of tips on staying safe before, during and after a disaster. Once you’ve learned the facts, make a family emergency plan. Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes, so it's important to know how you will contact one another, where you will meet up and what you will do in case of an emergency. Don’t forget about making plans for your pets – they are important members of the family too.
- Pick up one item for your emergency kit on each of your shopping runs – building your family’s emergency kit doesn’t need to happen in one fell swoop. Pick up canned food, bottled water, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, and other recommended emergency items over the first month or two of the year, that way you spread the cost of building your emergency supply kit.
Keeping our New Year resolutions can be difficult, but taking these steps to help keep you and your family members safe can be fun and simple.
Winter Is Upon Us
As we move further into the winter months and old man winter continues to rear his (sometimes) ugly head, I wanted to take a moment to remind of some tips for staying safe this winter.
- Have an emergency kit in your vehicle – if a winter storm develops suddenly, have supplies on hand in case you’re stranded in your vehicle. Some items to include in your kit include:
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Adequate clothing such as gloves, hat, scarf, and extra clothes
- Take precautions for power outages – winter storms often cause power outages, so be sure your family and home take steps to sustain yourselves for at least 72 hours and be sure you have winter weather supplies such as:
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways
- Sand to improve traction on exterior walkways
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
- Limit travel during a storm – only venture out on the roads if it’s absolutely necessary. If you have to travel, be sure to let someone know your destination, expected arrival time and the route you’re taking.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Practice safe snow removal - moving snow can be strenuous, so take breaks and make sure to give your body a rest. Overworking yourself in cold weather can put extra strain on your heart.
Familiarize yourself with winter weather terms often used to identify a winter storm hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued:
- Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
- Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
- Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
- Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two. Follow local news reports and be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon. Stay indoors during the storm and avoid traveling.
- Blizzard Warning means heavy snow and strong winds will produce a blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill.
- Frost/Freeze Warning means below freezing temperatures are expected.
Visit www.ready.gov/winter-weather for a more complete list of what to do before, during and after winter weather and extreme cold.
Happy New Year!