Cold Weather Tips as Winter Hits

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Here are some winter and seasonal safety tips for you, your family and co-workers.

Winter Storms

The hazards of winter storms are dramatic: wind-driven snow that makes it impossible to see creates large drifts and lowers the wind chill. Blizzards and ice storms can knock down trees, utility poles and power lines. Even small amounts of ice are extremely hazardous to motorists and pedestrians.

If you are stuck in a storm and exposed to cold for an extended period, frostbite or hypothermia is possible and can be life-threatening. Advisories are issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) when the public should be alerted to possible storms. A winter storm watch is issued when severe winter conditions are possible within the next 12 to 48 hours. The NWS issues a winter storm warning when severe winter weather conditions are occurring or expected to occur within a few hours.

Communication Plan

  • Home – Create a family communication plan to include instructions on how to keep in contact with each other, where to meet if necessary, and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Office – Keep a recall list of everyone you work with. If you’re a supervisor, make sure all personnel know how to muster before and after the storm. Update personal and emergency contact information on the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS).

During a storm, listen to NOAA weather radio, local radio or television for the latest weather reports and emergency information.

Supplies

Prepare for power outages by stocking up on safety and security supplies such as:

  • Flashlights and batteries
  • AM/FM battery-powered radio
  • Rechargeable power-failure lights
  • Wind-up or battery alarm clock
  • First-aid kit and medical supplies
  • Back-up system for your files

Car Maintenance

  • Winterize your car with fresh antifreeze and a strong battery
  • Schedule a tune-up as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Prepare a roadside emergency and maintenance kit with supplies necessary for your area

Cold Weather Do’s and Don’ts

  • Use generators, fireplaces and natural gas fire logs responsibly
  • Have an operable fire extinguisher handy and learn how to use it
  • During a power outage, unplug small appliances and electronics to avoid damage from power surge. Leave one low-wattage incandescent light switched on so you know when the power comes back on.
  • If the weather is clear enough for tobogganing, sledding and just playing in the snow, do so responsibly.

>> Dress appropriately, check equipment, use designated skating areas and playgrounds, and go with a buddy.

>>   Prolonged exposure to low temperatures, wind and/or moisture can result in cold-related injury from frostbite and hypothermia. Know the difference and what to do in an emergency.

>>   Be prepared for changing weather conditions.

  • If you must be outside, wear plenty of layers of clothing. Make sure you wear a hat, because the largest amount of body heat is lost through the top of the head.
  • When shoveling snow, take your time and don’t overexert yourself. Dress in layers, drink plenty of water and take it slow.

>>   If you feel chest pain or tightness, stop. Seek immediate help if pain continues and breathing becomes difficult.

  • Be careful when clearing snowdrifts from your doorways, windows and roof. To remove a significant snow load from your roof, FEMA recommends a licensed, insured professional roofing contractor.
  • Whenever it’s safe, check on neighbors with special needs: the elderly, children who are home alone and people with disabilities.
  • If you’re unsure of road conditions, call your local highway administration or state transportation department.
  • If you’re on the road when a sudden storm hits, you might encounter traffic jams, detours and incidents. If you get stranded in your car, stay with it until help arrives. Do not try to walk for help during a blizzard.
  • If you must venture out after a storm, watch out for snow-covered driveways and pathways, frozen lakes, snowdrifts and icy roads.

For more winter and seasonal safety tips: http://www.public.navy.mil/comnavsafecen/pages/media/index-safetips.aspx

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