Winter Storm Preparedness P1

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Have you ever experienced an ice storm? This is a type of severe weather in which ice coats streets, sidewalks and power lines. It makes transportation extremely hazardous, and it can shut down the electrical power in an entire city, occasionally for days and weeks. Trees and power lines break and fall, sometimes crushing or electrocuting people in the way.

Montreal in Canada, Spokane, WA, New York and even Cincinnati are cities that have suffered through ice storm disasters in recent years. Preparedness is the key to getting through a winter storm with minimum danger and discomfort. So plan what you would do in a weather emergency.

How would you heat your home if the electricity went out? If you are thinking you would just wheel the barbecue indoors from the patio, stop right there. People die during winter storms when they try to use outdoor fuel-burning equipment indoors. The carbon monoxide created by burning fuel builds up in a poorly-ventilated area and can kill the occupants without warning. You should only use a heating device designed for indoor use.

You can keep your home warmer by closing off the rooms you don’t need to use and huddling in the warmest room with all the blankets you can round up. During previous ice storms, many families and their neighbors spent days like this.

What about light? If you’re thinking of candles, that’s another bad idea. Houses go up in flames during winter storms because of candles. Instead, make sure you have battery-operated lights, such as flashlights, and a good supply of batteries.

We’ll talk more about preparedness tomorrow.

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