Ensuring preparedness for winter weather

Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2016



With the recent below-freezing temperatures in the area, it is time to think about staying prepared for winter weather and cold temperatures.

Most nights this week will bring below-freezing temperatures, making it vital for residents to not only protect their vehicles by ensuring the proper amount of antifreeze is in them, but also to make sure good winter tires and other aspects of vehicles are maintained such as brakes, oil, lights and heaters/defrosters. In the event of winter weather, a ready vehicle could mean the difference between getting stranded, in an accident or making it to one’s destination safely.

With that said, anything can happen, so it’s equally important to make sure emergency items such as a shovel, windshield scraper, flashlight, batteries, water, snack food, matches, extra clothing, first aid kits, tow rope/chain, road salt and sand, flares and others are on-hand in one’s vehicle.

Another item to consider is winterizing one’s home: residents can extend the life of a fuel supply by insulating walls and attics; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a winter storm; maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year; insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing; keep fuel-burning equipment vented to the outside and clear; keep fire extinguishers on hand; and learn how to shut off pipe valves in the event of pipes bursting, among others.

To add to one’s home emergency kit, make sure there is sand to improve traction on sidewalks and porches, snow shovels and other snow removal equipment, sufficient heating fuel, adequate clothing and blankets to keep warm, and rock salt to melt ice on walkways.

Make a family communications plan that will enable families to have a clear plan of action in the event of a disaster. Also, it is important to stay connected by signing up for weather and emergency updates and warnings through FEMA, the American Red Cross or other organizations. Regularly checking NOAA weather radio broadcasts can also keep one tuned in to alerts and warnings from the National Weather Service for any imminent hazards.

Most years, eastern North Carolina gets little snow. This makes winter weather a footnote in the minds of residents and officials. With cold weather present in the area, and the chance of snow slated for Saturday, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared and ready for anything.