Winter storms can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds, as well as a combination of all of these conditions. These conditions make driving hazardous as well as making walking difficult if not impossible. These conditions may cause downed trees and power lines resulting in power outages that can last for days. During winter storm events injuries and deaths have occurred from such things as exposure to the elements, dangerous road conditions, carbon monoxide poisoning from using various things in an unsafe manner for heating purposes.
In order for you to be protected during these events you will need to know how to prepare yourself before, during and after these events. Planning ahead for these events can make the difference between life and death.
- It’s always a good idea to have boilers/furnaces serviced prior to the onset of winter.
- Stock emergency supplies and install battery-powered or battery backed-up carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors in the home. Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days by putting together an emergency kit, including: non-perishable food, water, a flashlight, a portable, battery-operated radio or television, batteries, medicines, anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel, first aid kit, money, seasonal clothing, and sanitation supplies. You should have enough emergency supplies to last at least three days.
- Staying dry and warm is most important in the case of winter storms. If your home has a safe fireplace, you have a good source of warmth for your family. Keep a stack of dry firewood in preparation for storm-related power failure. Gas logs will also work without power.
- Listen to local media for warnings & alerts (use battery-powered radio or television during power outages).
- Identify a place that you can safely warm up should you and your family lose heat in your home. You can contact the White Plains Police Department for warming shelter assistance (422-6111).
DURING THE STORM
- Monitor local news for emergency information and instructions.
- Stay indoors. If you MUST go outdoors stay away from downed power lines. Call 911 to report any downed trees or powerlines. Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Try not to walk in the roadway unless absolutely necessary.
- Close off rooms to consolidate & retain heat.
- Dress in layers and use blankets to keep warm. Wrap up in blankets for sleeping or sitting still. If you get wet, get dry as soon as possible. Make sure that your feet and hands stay warm and dry and check the hands and feet of children and elderly persons.
- Keep your pets in a warm place.
- NEVER use a generator, camp stove, or gasoline or propane heater indoors.
- NEVER use charcoal-burning devices in any enclosed area such as a basement, crawlspace or garage.
- NEVER heat a home with a cooktop or oven.
- Contact the police department at 422-6111 to report complaints of no heat in rental units when necessary.
- Limit your time outdoors and stay dry. Injuries such as frostbite and hypothermia happen as a result of exposure and lack of protection from the wind and cold.
- Keep off the roads during snow storms. Drive only if it is absolutely necessary.
- Be careful not to overexert yourself when shoveling snow. Over-exertion can bring on a heart attack, a major cause of death during winter storms. Never attempt to move heavy amounts of snow at one time with a shovel. Always stretch prior to shoveling snow.