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Staying safe in every winter weather scenario

Winter snow

OKLAHOMA CITY – As the state prepares for another round of winter weather, EMSA crews are hoping Oklahomans are prepared for every situation that could arise.

If you lose power:

  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns.
  • Never use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stoves indoors. The fumes are deadly.
  • Avoid using candles as these can lead to house fires.
  • If you do use candles, never leave lit candles alone.
  • Use extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats to keep warm.
  • Check with your fire department to make sure kerosene heaters are legal in your area.
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
  • Keep heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and drapes.

Also, be sure to have the following safety equipment:

  • Chemical fire extinguisher
  • Smoke alarm in working order
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage or near the air intake of your home.
  • Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet.
  • Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.
  • Use individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords to plug in other appliances.

It’s always a good idea to have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies on hand. You may even opt to have more if you live far from a store or friends and family.

Make sure you have supplies like:

  • Drinking water
  • Canned food or items that don’t need to be cooked
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Baby food and formula if there is a baby in the household
  • Prescription drugs and other medicine
  • First-aid kit
  • Rock-salt to melt ice on walkways
  • Supply of cat litter or bag of sand to add traction on walkways
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered lamps or lanterns.

Also, keep a water supply. Extreme cold can cause water pipes in your home to freeze and sometimes burst.

  • Leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously
  • Keep the indoor temperature warm
  • Allow more heated air near pipes
  • Open kitchen cabinet doors under the kitchen sink
  • If your pipes freeze, do not thaw them with a torch
  • Thaw pipes slowly with warm air from an electric hair dryer
  • If you cannot thaw your pipes or the pipes have burst, use bottled water or get water from a neighbor’s home.
  • Fill the bathtub or have bottled water on hand.
  • In an emergency, snow can be melted for water
  • In that case, bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most germs but won’t get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow.

Travel is discouraged but if you must travel, make sure you have the following items:

  • Cell phone, portable charger and extra batteries
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Extra hats, coats and mittens
  • Blankets
  • Chains or rope
  • Tire chains
  • Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency flares
  • Bright colored flag or help signs
  • First-aid kit
  • Tool kit
  • Road maps
  • Compass
  • Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water
  • Paper towels
  • Road salt

Also, make a family communication plan. Your family may not be together during an extreme weather event, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do during an emergency.

Be sure to check on older neighbors and family members.