Terms to know:
Burning Ban: A declared ban on open air burning within a specified area, usually due to sustained high fire danger.
• Buy and carefully maintain a quality smoke alarm.
• Learn what causes fire and inspect your home to eliminate or control fire hazards.
• Install at least a 5-pound A-B-C type fire extinguishers in the home and teach family members how to use it.
• Establish a well-planned escape route with your family. Hold practice fire drills until family members are thoroughly familiar with the plan.
• If you have an older home, have the wiring checked by a qualified electrician to make sure it meets current building codes.
• Know how to shut off the electrical and gas supplies.
• Have your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected yearly for creosote build up, cracks, crumbling bricks or mortar and any obstructions.
• Use large house numbers. If your house is set back from your street or road, post your address at the entrance of your driveway. • • Keep storage areas clean and tidy.
• Keep curtains, towels, and potholders away from hot surfaces.
• Store solvents and flammable cleaners away from heat sources. Never keep gasoline in the house.
• Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs.
Terms to know:
Flood or Flash Flood Watch: Indicates that flooding or flash flooding will occur within a few hours of heavy rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or water is being released from an ice jam.
Flood or Flash Warning: Inundation of a normally dry area near a stream or other watercourse, or unusually severe pooling of water had been reported or is imminent.
• Learn the safest route from your home or business to high safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
• Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
• Have emergency waterproofing supplies on hand, including sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber.
• Move essential items and furniture to the upper floors of the house. Disconnect electrical appliances that cannot be moved. Do not tough them if you are wet or standing in water.
• If you are told to shut off water, gas, or electrical services before leaving your home, do so.
• Secure your home: lock all doors and windows.
• Leave early to avoid being marooned on flooded roads. Follow recommended routes. Do night sightsee. As you travel, monitor local radio broadcasts for the latest information.
• Watch for washed-out roads, earth slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and falling or fallen objects.
• Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.
• Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way. Water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road a bridge.
• If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.
Terms to know:
Blackout: Equipment failure which occurs when the supply of power is cut, either by excessive demand on the power grid, lightning storms, ice on power lines, equipment failure or any accident which brings down a power line.
Rolling Blackout: Occurs when electrical power is turned off to selected areas to save power. Blackouts usually occur during peak energy usage times, between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., but they can happen any time. Blackouts may affect the same area more than once a day and they may exceed an hour’s duration.
• If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem – check with your physician or pharmacist.
• If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving an inch of space inside each one – this will help keep food cold if the power goes out.
• Plan to have an alternative cooking source, such as a camp stove or outdoor grill. Follow appropriate safety rules for its use outside the residence.
• Consider buying a generator and follow the rules for using it outside the residence. Before installing a generator, be sure to properly disconnect from your utility electrical service. If possible, have your generator installed by a qualified electrician.
• Have extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves on hand to keep warm.
• If you have a computer, back up files and operating systems regularly. Turn off all computers, monitors, and other devices when they are not being used.
• If you have an electric garage door opener, locate the manual release level and learn how to operate.
• If you have a telephone instrument or system that requires electricity to work, plan for alternate communication such as a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone, or radio.
• Have a standby generator or an alternative source of power available.
Terms to know:
Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Issued when severe thunderstorms are possible in and close to the watch area. The Watch is issued to alert you to the possibility that storms with damaging winds, lightning, and large hail may develop.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Issued when a severe thunderstorm has been spotted and will move through your area soon. Postpone outdoor activities if the storms are imminent.
During the Thunderstorm
• If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
• Move to a sturdy building. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
• If lightning occurs and sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep windows up.
• Get out of boats and away from water.
• Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Use phones only in an emergency.
• Do not take a bath or shower.
• Turn off air conditioners – power surges from lightning can overload compressors.
• Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible.
• Do not attempt to drive to safety – most flash flooding deaths occur in automobiles.
• If outdoors, find a low spot away from trees.
• If you are in the woods, take shelter under short trees.
• If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stands on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet; place your hands on your knees with your head between them; make yourself the smallest target possible; and minimize your contact with the ground.
Terms to know:
Winter Storm Watch: Indicates severe winter weather may affect your area.
Winter Storm Warning: Severe winter weather conditions will affect your area.
Blizzard Warning: Large amount of falling snow or blowing snow with winds of at least 35 miles per hour expected to last for several hours.
Wind Chill: The effects of wind in combination with the actual temperature, which increases the rate of heat loss to the human body.
WINTER HEALTH HAZARDS
Frostbite: Severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims. Symptoms include a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, ears, and nose.
Hypothermia Occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below normal. Symptoms include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, and drowsiness. If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, slowly warm the victim and seek immediate medical assistance.
Overexertion: Cold weather puts and added strain on the heart. Shoveling snow or pushing a car may cause a heart attack. Stay warm, dress warm, and slow down when working outdoors.
• Service snow removal equipment. Use rock salt to melt ice on walkways, and sand to generate traction.
• Winterize your home and have heating sources inspected annually.
• If you use heating oil, maintain and adequate supply.
• Have safe, emergency heating equipment available and use according to manufacturer’s instructions.
• Install and check smoke alarms.
• Protect water pipes from freezing.
• Have adequate winter supplies on hand.