Boston, MA --As severe winter weather hits New England, it is time to make plans and get prepared. With this in mind, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging everyone to take preventive measures now to ensure your safety and take the sting out of wintry weather:
- Assemble a disaster supply kit. Store drinking water, canned/no-cook
food, non-electric can opener, first aid kit, battery-powered
radio, flashlight and extra batteries where you can get them easily,
even in the dark. Also include winter specific items such as rock
salt, sand and other snow removal equipment.
- Prepare for the possibility that you will need to stay in your
home for several days after a winter storm. Make sure that you
have sufficient heating fuel as well as emergency heating equipment
in case electricity is cut off.
- · House fires pose an additional risk, as more people
turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary
safety precautions. Keep all heaters at least three feet from
flammable objects. Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters
to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes and always refuel outside.
Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your
house knows how to use them.
- Keep cars and other vehicles fueled and in good repair. Winterize
your car by checking your car battery, ignition system, thermostat,
lights, flashers, exhaust, heater, brakes, defroster and tires.
Ensure that your car has adequate antifreeze, windshield washer
fluid and oil and check regularly throughout the season.
- Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes a shovel, windshield scraper, flashlight, battery powered radio, extra batteries, water, snack food, extra hats and mittens, blanket, tow chain or rope, road salt and sand, booster cables, emergency flares and fluorescent distress flag.
"Most people may know that New England weather can be unpredictable. It can immobilize the region and result in the loss of life and property," said FEMA Regional Director, Daniel A. Craig. "Everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to make sure that their families and elderly neighbors are as prepared as possible, no matter what the risk."
Winter storms accounted for five national major disasters and eight emergency declarations in 2001, as well as, five major disasters and one emergency declaration to date in 2002. The severe weather damaged homes and businesses from New York to Oregon. For more information and tips on what you can do to prepare for winter weather, visit www.fema.gov.