The Hampton Office of Emergency Management reminds residents that it is time to prepare for winter weather. Winter storms can bring freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds, or a combination of all these conditions. Winter weather can 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. Being prepared for winter weather can decrease your risk.
As the coldest part of the winter approaches, now is the time to check your emergency kit to make sure you have supplies that you may need. Those supplies include:
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. (Remember that these products can be harmful to dogs, so be sure to choose a non-toxic brand if you or your neighbors have pets.)
- Sand/gravel to improve traction.
- Snow shovels or other snow removal equipment.
- Heating fuel. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, keep a supply of good, dry wood for heating in case you lose power.
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep warm, including coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, etc.
Keep your NOAA Weather Radio in your kit to receive broadcast alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards. You may also sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency services.
Include enough food, water, medications & anything used daily in your emergency kit to last for at least 72 hours.
You should also make sure your car, truck or SUV is prepared for winter. Every vehicle should have the following:
Flares or reflective triangle
Car cell phone charger
Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
For more information, go to www.ready.gov/car [ready.gov].
During a winter storm, minimize your travel by car. Even if winter weather conditions aren’t obviously present, conditions like black ice can cause vehicles to lose control.
Families can also make a communication plan. Your family may not be together when bad weather 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. Click here for some ideas and resources on developing a communications plan.
Be prepared to bring your pets inside in the event of a winter storm. Move outdoor animals and livestock to a sheltered area with non-frozen drinking water, dry bedding, and extra food.
Empower older adults and their caregivers to take three simple steps to prepare for an emergency: 1) assess needs, 2) make a plan, 3) engage support networks. Click here for details on the “Take Control” campaign supporting winter safety.
Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups. Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
If you fear that you are unable to afford your heating costs, weatherization or energy-related home repairs, click here for details on a financial assistance program.
Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing.