Winter storm safety tips for your home, your health and more

Winter storm safety tips for your home, your health and more

(WFXR) – As Virginians prepare for snow, sleet and freezing rain across the Commonwealth on Sunday, there are a number of ways to prepare and protect yourself, your home and your family this winter with winter weather.

Here are some simple tips to keep everyone safe during the winter storm that is expected on Sunday, January 16th:

Prepare your home for winter weather:

According to the National Weather Service, the biggest concern for homes during a winter storm is loss of power, heat and telephone service, which is why it is important to protect yourself and your family by preparing in advance and not letting a winter storm take you by surprise.

Both weather and emergency officials advise you to start preparing early by making sure your home has a flashlight, extra batteries, a portable charger, a weather radio, adequate fuel for generators and other equipment, and bottled water (at least three gallons per person) in your household and your pets).

(Photo: Courtesy CDC)

You should also have enough food to keep for at least three days, including pet food, if applicable. For example, keep a supply of non-perishable food – such as canned food, tea, coffee, trail mix, peanut butter, etc. – and a can opener. You can also fill fresh fruits and vegetables that do not need to be kept refrigerated, such as oranges, apples or bananas.

Other things to keep around the house include extra prescription medications; diapers and infant formula, if applicable; a first aid kit; and hygiene products such as toilet paper, toothpaste and damp towels if there is a shortage of water.

In the meantime, whether for your car or your home, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) recommends assembling winter emergency supply kits:

(Photo: Courtesy Virginia Department of Emergency Management via Radford City Government Facebook)

Also, do not forget to fully charge mobile phones, computers and mobile devices in advance.

Travel in winter weather:

Authorities advise you not to travel unless absolutely necessary during winter storms.

This not only keeps icy roads free of traffic, but it also keeps roads safer for you, for Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews, and for emergency vehicles.

If you have to drive somewhere, keep an eye out for black ice, especially on bridges, curves and overpasses.

In addition, do not cross lanes that are blocked by trees, debris, or crashed power lines, which you should always assume are live wires.

Safe use of heaters and generators:

As Sunday’s winter storm gets closer and you roll out these space heaters, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Four, make sure you only use space heaters in a well-ventilated area with at least three feet between your space heater and everything else.

If you need to refill the heaters, do so outside. You should also keep children, pets and any flammable objects away from the heaters.

“If they are in your bedroom during the night, we throw and turn, our bedding can be thrown on them, so it is recommended that if you leave the room, turn them off, or when you go to bed, turn them off. the space heaters, ”said Captain Ernest Parson of the Beckley Fire Prevention Bureau.

On the other hand, if you use wood, kerosene or other fuels as additional heat sources, be careful and provide good ventilation.

Also check your carbon monoxide alarms to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. And while you’re at it, why not check out your smoke detectors? If they are more than 10 years old, you are encouraged to acquire new ones as soon as possible.

If you need a generator to heat or supply your home, be sure to place the unit outside to reduce the risk of building up toxic fumes.

VDEM created the following graphics on the importance of generator safety:

(Photo: Courtesy Virginia Department of Emergency Management via Radford City Government Facebook)

Protection of both human and pet health:

When shoveling snow, be sure to take it slow and take breaks because the cold temperatures and the extra effort can strain the heart muscles extra.

Even if you do not plan to shovel snow, be sure to dress warmly when you go outside:

  • Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing instead of a layer of heavy clothing
  • Wear a hat, mittens and a scarf to reduce heat loss.
  • Change wet clothes often.

In short, keep yourself hydrated, dry and warm.

(Photo: Courtesy Lynchburg Police Department Facebook)

As for our furry friends, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them, so make sure they have warm shelter and ice-free water during this winter weekend.

Virginia law states that pets cannot be tied or chained outdoors when the temperature is 32 degrees or lower or when there is a severe weather warning.

If you take your pets outside – as a walk – be sure to remove any damp sweaters, coats or boots when you return so they stay warm.

Also remember to dry your paws after each trip outside. Ice-melting chemicals or rock salt can cause irritation, illness or even death, according to VDEM.

Police also encourage you to check your vehicles for cats or other creatures that may be trying to warm up in or around the vehicles.

Keep your community safe:

Officials urge you not to call 911 unless you experience an actual emergency.

If you experience a power outage, call your private ISP or power provider. To check the road conditions, use or download the VDOT 511 app.

A number of locations around southwest and central Virginia have provided alternative contact information for non-emergencies during winter weather events to keep emergency phone lines open for those in urgent need.

If you know there are neighbors or people in the area who may need help preparing for or dealing with winter weather, be sure to check them out.

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