Winter Weather Preparedness
Ohios's Winter Weather Awareness Week is November 17th to November 23rd. The purpose of this week-long awareness campaign is to encourage Ohioans to get prepared for winter weather.
Ohio has a history of crippling snow storms and winter weather that has caused long term power outages and other severe damage. It is never too late to prepare for winter weather emergencies. Even the smallest amount of snow and ice can cause disruptions. Everyone should make preparations regardless of age, and be prepared for a disaster whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall.
- Freezing Rain—Rain that freezes when it comes into contact with a surface; creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees, and power lines.
- Sleet - Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze.
- Winter Weather Advisory—Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
- Winter Storm Watch—A winterstorm is possible in your area within the next 12 to 48 hours. Tune into NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for more information.
- Winter Storm Warning—A winter storm is expected to occur within 12 to 24 hours in your area.
- Blizzard Warning—Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour, or greater, and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
Visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/winter/ for more information.
Snow Shoveling—Snow shoveling is a strenuous activitiy and can cause serious injuries or death if precautions are not taken. If you choose to do this heavy work yourself, remember that your body may tire quicker in the cold. Do not overextend yourself. Take short breaks while shoveling. Exhaustion can make the body more susceptible to cold injuries (i.e, muscle strains and sprains).
- Wear sturdy shoes with rugged soles to help prevent slips and falls.
- Never smoke while shoveling. Tobacco smoke constricts blood vessels just as cold air does; the combination could be dangerous.
- If you become short of breath while shoveling, stop and rest. If you feel pain or tightness in your chest, become dizzy, faint or start sweating heavily, stop immediately and call 911.
- Use a sturdy, lightweight shovel to push the snow out of the way. If you must lift the snow, take small scoops. A shovel-full of dry snow can weigh about four pounds; wet snow can weigh significantly more.
- Warm up before shoveling by walking and stretching your arms and legs for a few minutes. Warm muscles are less likely to be injured and work more efficiently.
Carbon Monoxide—The use of alternative heating sources such as portable heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, a silent killer.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating, or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
- If the carbon monoxide detector sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors and call 911.
Hypothermia—When exposed to cold temperatures, the body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, which can be fatal.
Those who are most vulnerable to hypothermia are:
- elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating
- babies sleeping in cold bedrooms
- children left unattended
- adults under the influence of alcohol
- mentally ill individuals
- people who remain outdoors for long periods—the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.
Visit http://www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/WinterHealthSafetyTips.aspx for more information.
- Clear windows of ALL snow and ice. Remember to clean head, tail, and brake lights.
- Leave greater space between you and the driver in front of you. Braking distance can be up to nine times greater on snowy, icy surfaces than on dry roads.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent the fuel line from freezing.
- Drive with extreme caution on bridges and overpasses during freezing temperatures. Bridges can become slick and icy before roads.
- Stay with your vehicle while warming it up. An unattended, running car invites theft.
Winter Vehicle Preparedness Kit
- A shovel
- Windshield scraper and a small broom
- Radio (Battery powered or crank)
- Snack food
- Extra hats, socks, and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt and sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Fluorescent distress flag
Visit http://www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/WinterVehicleSafetyTips.aspx for more information.
Snow Emergency Levels
The lower the level, the lower the restrictions.
Level 1 Snow Emergency:
- Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow.
- Roads may also be icy.
- Drive carefully.
Level 2 Snow Emergency:
- Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow.
- Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads.
- Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.
Level 3 Snow Emergency:
- All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel.
- No one else should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel or a personal emergency exists.
- All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roads may subject themselves to arrest.
Visit http://www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/SnowEmergencyClassifications.aspx for more information.
Emergency Management will achieve a balanced and measured, disaster resistant, risk-based process that will be comprehensive in approach and will continuously improve Wright State University’s ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and reduce or eliminate losses due to major natural and human-borne emergencies.