This week, we continue our Winter Weather Preparedness by reviewing how to be safe at home. I spoke again to Jordan Didio, Meteorologist for the National Weather Service Springfield, who gave some more tips to help stay safe during winter.
“It is important to stay current on weather forecasts,” said Didio. “We want people to stay up to date as best they can, and one way to do that is through the National Weather Service Springfield page on X (formerly known as Twitter) and Facebook.”
Other ways to stay current are signing up for weather alerts on your phone or checking the local TV. Most have a seven-day forecast so that you can plan ahead of time.
“It is always a great idea to have a plan in place beforehand,” said Didio.
Last week, readers were given examples of emergency kits in their cars if they get stuck. But what if you are snowed in and can not get out? That is where executing a plan and having an emergency kit comes in.
The home emergency kit will have a few things similar to the car kit: First-aid supplies, Mobile phone chargers or power battery banks, Flashlights with extra batteries, and extra blankets.
Other items to have in a home kit include:
Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio or portable radio to receive emergency information.
Extra water and food such as dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, and other food that do not require cooking or refrigeration.
Extra prescription medicine.
If readers have infants in the home, ensure you have baby items such as diapers and formula.
Folks that have a generator make sure to have enough fuel and never have it running in an enclosed space. With it running outside, ensure your carbon monoxide detector works correctly, and the outside vent is clear of leaves and debris. During or after the weather hits, make sure it is cleared of snow.
For readers with fireplaces, wood stoves, or space heaters, ensure it is adequately ventilated to prevent a fire. Home fires are common each winter when trying to stay warm. Make sure fire extinguishers and smoke alarms are working correctly. Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are performing.
For those fireplaces, ensure a fireplace screen is heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening to catch flying sparks. Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check for damage or obstructions monthly, and before going to bed, ensure the fire is completely out.
Also, take this time to check in on those who may have difficulty staying warm.
“We (The National Weather Service) urge people to check in on any vulnerable populations,” said Didio. “For seniors, if we get a cold spell, make sure their furnace has not broken down. Those pregnant are also more susceptible to extreme conditions.”
Didio adds one other population to help out: our four-legged family members.
“Pets are also susceptible to the cold and other extreme weather,” said Didio. “If it is cold to you, it is cold to them. If we expect extremely cold weather, then we encourage people to bring their pets inside to be warm too.” With that in mind, ensure extra pet food and warm shelter.
Keep these tips in mind as the weather gets more and more colder.
For more information, visit the NWS website at www.weather.gov/sgf/ or check out their YouTube channel, NWS Springfield.
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