RALEIGH, N.C. -- Recovery officials for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the North Carolina Emergency Management Division (NCEMD) warned Carolinians today that winter storms, too, can be hazardous and present life-threatening situations if people are not alert and careful.
Snow and ice storms can drop visibility to near zero and create extremely perilous, slick driving conditions. They also may lead to extended power failures and loss of other services and strand people at home.
The disaster recovery team from FEMA and NCEMD for Hurricane Floyd and subsequent storms and flooding recommends taking steps to minimize the threats posed by winter storms:
- The best protection against severe winter weather is to stay inside and to dress warmly by wearing loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing.
- Winterize your home. Insulate walls and attic. Caulk and weather strip doors and windows.
- Keep disaster supplies on hand in case the power goes out: flashlights and extra batteries, portable radios and extra batteries, first aid kit, a supply of prescription medications, and a fire extinguisher.
- Look out for neighbors who may require special assistance or who may be especially vulnerable to the cold.
- Winterize your car. Be sure you have adequate anti-freeze in the car to withstand the most severe of area winter conditions.
- Heavy snowfall, blizzards, or ice storms can trap motorists in their cars. Attempting to walk for help in low visibility or unsure footing can be a deadly decision. People are urged to stay in their cars and wait for help. Cell phones, of course, may expedite your rescue.
For persons still struggling to recover from the 1999 hurricanes and flooding, registration for state and federal assistance is still being accepted. Applications will be accepted through January 18 for persons who suffered losses as a result of those storms at the FEMA hotline, 1-800-462-9029 and TTY 1-800-462-7585. The lines are open from Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.