Winter preparedness tips from Washington County Emergency Services

Dress right for winter! | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News
Winter fun | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The National Weather Service predicted a change in the weather beginning last week, and that change did descend on Southern Utah.

With this notification Washington County Emergency Services offered some reminders for cold weather preparation.

Preparation and precautions for winter driving:

•   Winterize your vehicle by having the following items checked: Ignition system, heater, brakes, wipers, cooling system, defroster, oil, exhaust, fuel system, battery, lights and tires. Don’t forget your washer solvent.

•   Make a winter travel kit which should include the following items: Flashlight, windshield scraper, sand, paper towels, chains, blankets, warm sleeping bags, matches/candles, high calorie non-perishable foods, booster cables, extra warm clothing and rain gear.

•   Let others know where you are going, your route, and your estimated time of arrival; and then stick to your plan.

•   Make sure your windows are clear before driving.

•   Slow down, increase your following distance and minimize lane changes.

•   If the storm exceeds or tests your driving ability, seek available shelter immediately.

•   If you get stranded do the following:

•          Stay with your car, it is your only sure shelter. Do not try to walk to safety.

•          Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna so you can be seen.

•          Start the car and use the heater for a few minutes every hour.

•          Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up into the car.

•          Leave the overhead lights and flashers on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.

•          Keep moving your arms and legs to maintain blood circulation and to stay warm.

•          Keep one window that is away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.

Preparation of your home for winter:

•   Check your battery-powered devices, flashlights, radios etc. so they are in working order should the power fail.

•   Check your emergency preparedness supplies to insure you have the needed supplies to survive and emergency.  Include extra blankets and warm clothing.

•   Have your heating system checked.

•   Drain your swamp cooler and prepare your boats, trailers and other systems, machines and appliances, which might be damaged by a freeze.

•   During a Winter storm at home:

•   Stay inside if you can.  Windy conditions intensify the cold.

•   Make sure your animals have adequate shelter, food and water.

•   Dress warmly in multi-layered clothing when you go outside.

•   Use caution with fireplaces and never discard ashes inside or near your home.

•   Make sure portable heaters are in good condition, have a tip over shutoff device, are placed at least three feet from combustibles, and have proper ventilation.

•   Do not use charcoal grills as heaters inside your home or shelter.

•   Make sure your home has working smoke detectors with fresh batteries.

Precautions for winter hunters:

•   With the start of the deer hunt, hunters should use extra caution during winter storms.

•   Backcountry roads can become slick and dangerous quickly.

•   Hunters should monitor the weather, should take extra precautions and avoid being trapped in winter storms.

For additional information on winter weather safety see PDF files offered by The Red Cross and the NWS on winter resources.





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