Winter storms are dangerous! On average nationwide, there are
more deaths attributed to Winter weather than from tornados or hurricanes.
There are several precautions you can take
to remain safe in the Winter. Here are a few
- Vent furnaces and fireplaces properly to
avoid the possibility of fire or suffocation from dangerous flue gases.
- Have your fireplace checked and cleaned
by a professional before each winter season. Keep fires small and always use a
fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Never burn trash
or paper in a fireplace. Remove ashes in a metal container and store them
outside. Never leave children unattended in the presence of a fire.
- Keep all combustible items away from
heating devices, especially space heaters. Use the proper fuel for liquid-fuel
heaters, be sure to vent them properly, and fill their tanks only in well
vented areas. Carbon monoxide is a serious problem. Buy a carbon monoxide
detector for your home if you use gas or space heaters.
- Check smoke detectors regularly and keep
them clear of dust and debris. Have a fire escape plan, know two ways out of
every room. Designate a meeting place outside your home in case of fire. Share
the plan with all family members and children.
- Allow extra time for travel
in Winter when road conditions may be slippery and hazardous. Always drive
defensively. Have your local mechanic prepare your automobile for winter
weather. Leave plenty of gas in the tank in case you get stranded.
- Develop a family plan that includes
information on how you would reunite family members if separated by severe
weather conditions. Maintain supplies in your home and in your automobile so
that you can remain self-sufficient if you are isolated by winter storms.
Be aware of the latest weather conditions
and forecasts. Knowing what to do in bad weather and emergencies can help
prevent life-threatening and costly accidents.
Be familiar with advisory terms:
- A WATCH means severe weather, such as heavy snow or ice is
possible in the next day or two. When a watch is issued, get ready. At home, check supplies
of food and fuel. For the car, check fluid levels and keep the gas tank full.
- A WARNING means severe winter weather conditions are occurring,
imminent or highly likely. Stay indoors and avoid travel. Warnings may be issued for the
- Heavy snow warning- 6 inches in northern and central
Illinois and 4 inches in Southern Illinois.
- Ice storm warning- heavy accumulations of ice will create
extremely dangerous travel and damage to trees and power lines.
- Blizzard warning- snow and winds of 35 mph or greater will
combine to produce severe blowing and drifting of snow, reduced visibility, and
life-threatening wind chill.
- Wind chill warning- life-threatening wind chill of 50 below
zero or colder in northern and central Illinois, 35 below zero or colder in Southern
- An ADVISORY means weather conditions could cause significant
inconvenience and may become hazardous especially to motorists. Travel with caution.
Advisories are issued for the following specific events:
- Snow advisory- snowfall of 2 to 5 inches.
- Freezing rain or sleet advisory- light accumulations of
- Blowing or drifting snow advisory- poor visibility and
drifting snow on roads.
- Wind chill advisory- dangerous wind chills of 30-35 below
zero in northern and central Illinois and 20-35 below zero in Southern Illinois.
Wind chill is a how cold it feels because
of the combined effects of cold temperature and strong wind. Wind chill can be
determined on the following chart if you know the actual temperature and wind
speed. Where the temperature and wind speed meet (across and down) is the wind
feels like (wind chill)...
Older people are particularly susceptible
to cold weather. Dress warmly and limit your exposure to the cold weather. Dress
in loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Wool clothing will help you
stay warm. Wearing several light layers will trap more body heat. Also, keeping
your clothing dry will prevent loss of body heat. Avoid alcoholic beverages
because it causes the body to lose its heat more rapidly as it dilates surface
Other preventative measures include eating
regularly, dressing warmly even indoors, and staying as active as possible. Keep
warm in bed by wearing enough clothing and using blankets.
Use this link to learn more about
Supplies for a Disaster Kit
Be sure to have a disaster kit stored in
your home and make sure that the following are included:
- First aid kit.
- Essential medications.
- Battery powered radio.
- Extra batteries.
- Canned food.
- Non-electric can opener.
- Bottled water.
Winter joggers and walkers should plot
their course against the wind on the way out and with the wind at your back on
the way home. This lowers the amount of wind that catches your body's
perspiration in your front at the end of the exercise period when you have
Don't be another Winter weather statistic!
Make sure that you and your family are prepared throughout the Winter season.
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