While the danger from winter weather varies across the country, nearly all Americans, regardless of where they live, are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives. Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.
One of the primary concerns is the winter weather’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.
The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.
Winter Storms Home Preparedness Checklist
To prepare for a winter storm you should do the following:
- Before winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways
- Sand to improve traction
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
- Sufficient heating fuel, like dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm
- Make a Family Emergency Plan—Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Be alert to changing weather conditions
- Minimize travel, but keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather
- Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water
During the Winter Storm
- Stay indoors during the storm
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow; overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter
- If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside
- Keep dry, and change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat (wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly)
- Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately
- Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts
- Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route
- If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate)
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes
- Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects
- Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 °F
On October 15th, Saline County Emergency Management Agency staff attended the 4th annual Weathering the Storm: Regional Disaster Conference held at The Pavilion in Marion, IL. This conference is intended to provide relevant disaster preparedness training to responders throughout the state and region. By bringing this type of conference to Southern Illinois, it makes disaster preparedness and response training available to co-workers, partners, and neighbors who are not normally able to attend similar events farther away.
I would like to take a moment and introduce myself. My name is Wesley Flannell and I am the new Planner for the Saline County Emergency Management Agency as a replacement for Niki Trusty. I have been involved in the emergency services field since I was 13 years old when I joined the Civil Air Patrol and started training for their air and ground emergency services missions. I have been active in the Shawnee Composite Squadron based in Herrin, IL for 13 years and am currently serving as the squadron commander. I attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL and majored in Aeronautics and minored in Aviation Meteorology. I am licensed in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, and Florida as well as being Nationally Certified as a Emergency Medical Technician. I am very passionate about search and rescue and hold certifications in ground search and rescue operations, search and rescue incident command, high and low angle rescue, as well as other SAR training. I have volunteered for the Saline County Emergency Management Agency since 2008, and I look forward to continuing to serve the residents and the community in Saline County.
Director, Allan Ninness, and Administrative Assistant, Niki Trusty, of Saline County Emergency Management Agency were among over 1,200 attendees at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Conference 2014.
During the IEMA Conference, SCEMA staff attended various training classes, such as Commodity Flow Studies, Framework for CyberSecurity Awareness, Cyber SNAFUS & Public Safety, Social Media Panel Discussion, and A Practitioner’s Guide to Grant Writing. They also attended sessions discussing the response of the West, Texas Fertilizer Company Explosion (April 17, 2013) and the Washington, Illinois Tornado (November 17, 2013).
Take a peek inside the National Weather Service, where all of your forecasts, warnings, hydrological and climatological data originate. Tours will last approximately 20-25 minutes. Adults and kids welcome!
WHERE: NWS PADUCAH WEATHER OFFICE
8250 KENTUCKY HIGHWAY 3520 (HINKLEVILLE RD)
WEST PADUCAH, KY 42086
DATE: SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 20, 2014
TIME: 900 AM TO 500 PM
It is time to review your Family Emergency and Communications Plan for the new school year. Emergencies and disasters can occur anywhere at anytime; even at schools during operating hours. Because schedules change this time of year, so do emergency plans. Make sure your children know what to do in the event of an emergency, and that you know their school’s or day care’s emergency plan, as well.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency conducted a class on Friday, July 18, 2014 to train individuals on Volunteer and Donations Management. Those attending the training were taught the basic guidelines to managing donations and volunteers during and after a disaster. Director, Allan Ninness, along with Niki Trusty represented Saline County Emergency Management Agency at the training that was held at Franklin Hospital in Benton, IL.
Allan Ninness and Niki Trusty represented Saline County Emergency Management Agency in the Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition on July 15, 2014 located at The Marion Pavilion.
This organization operates to promote collaboration in disaster and emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Various organizations participate in this program representing the interests of multiple disciplines in the emergency preparedness realm including but not limited to the healthcare system, public health, local business, public service, and safety.
“The Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition (SPARC) mission is to develop and maintain an integrated, diverse network of organizations in Southern Illinois in order to increase planning, mitigation, response, recovery, and overall resiliency in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.”
Director, Allan Ninness, serves on the Executive Committee for the Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition in hopes to help better prepare our region for a disaster. The Executive Committee serves as the governing body of the coalition. Members of the Executive Committee are responsible for setting policy and procedures, providing fiscal management, and allocating funds and coalition resources.
When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 22-28, 2014. Learn more at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov or
NO PLACE OUTSIDE IS SAFE NEAR A THUNDERSTORM! When you hear thunder, go inside a substantial building or a vehicle with a metal roof and metal sides and stay inside for 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder. If you are caught outside, avoid open areas and never stand under a tall, isolated tree. Learn more at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
Lightning kills over 50 people in the US each year and injures hundreds more. Donâ€™t be one of them. When you hear thunder, immediately seek safe shelter in a substantial building or vehicle with a metal top and sides. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoorsâ€¦ and stay inside for 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder. Learn more at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
Thunder is natures early warning sign for lightning. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike and you need to immediately need to seek safe shelter in a substantial building or a vehicle with a metal top and side. Stay inside 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder. Learn more at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
When you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike:
Seek shelter immediately in a substantial building but stay away from corded telephones, electrical appliances, and plumbing.
The second safest place is a vehicle with a metal roof and metal sides.
If you are caught outside, stay away from open areas and water. Never stand under a tall, isolated tree.
Lightning victims are safe to touch. If someone is unresponsive or not breathing, immediately call 9-1-1 and do CPR.