Public Safety Education - Winter Storm SafetyPresented as part of the Greeley Fire Department Public Education and Awareness series.
1. Fire Safety
The Greeley Fire Department encourages you to use the following safety tips to help protect yourself, your family and your home from the potential threat of fire during or after winter storms.
Some Fire Related Hazards During and After a Winter Storm:
- Alternative heating devices used incorrectly create fire hazards.
- Damaged or downed utility lines can present a fire and life safety hazard.
- Water damaged appliances and utilities can be electrically charged.
- Frozen water pipes can burst and cause safety hazards.
- Generators are often used during power outages. Generators that are not properly used and maintained can be hazardous.
- Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
- Alternative heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least 3 feet away.
- Make sure your alternative heaters have "tip switches." These "tip switches" are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over
- Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, and at least 3 feet away from combustible materials. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.
- Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby carpets, furniture or other combustible items.
- Be careful when using candles. Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of the reach of children
- If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of debris for easy access by the fire department.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using generators.
- Use a generator or other fuel powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
2. Preparation for Winter Storms – Prepare a Storm Plan
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing--
- First aid kit and essential medications.
- Extra blankets.
- Ensure that each member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, and water-resistant boots.
- Battery-powered NOAA Weather radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Canned food and can opener.
- Bottled water (at least one gallon of water per person per day to last at least 3 days).
- Extra warm clothing, including boots, mittens, and a hat.
- Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit for your car, too.
- Have your car winterized before winter storm season.
Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings . .
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio and your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.
Know What Winter Storm Watches and Warnings Mean
- A winter storm WATCH means a winter storm is possible in your area.
- A winter storm WARNING means a winter storm is headed for your area.
- A blizzard WARNING means strong winds, blinding wind-driven snow, and dangerous wind chill are expected. Seek shelter immediately!
When a Winter Storm Watch is Issued . . .
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, and TV stations, or cable TV such as The Weather Channel for further updates.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Avoid unnecessary travel.
When a Winter Storm Warning is Issued . . .
- Stay indoors during the storm.
- If you must go outside, several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
- Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin.
- As winds increase, heat is carried away from a person's body at an accelerated rated, driving down the body temperature.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, sidewalks.
- After the storm, if you shovel snow, be extremely careful. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks. Avoid overexertion.
Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must . . .
· Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk.
· Keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
· Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
If You Do Get Stuck . . .
- Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
- Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
- As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
- Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
What to Do After a Winter Storm
- Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community, or roads may be blocked.
- Help a neighbor who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
- Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved. Roads may be blocked by snow or emergency vehicles.
- Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of deaths during winter.
- Follow forecasts and be prepared when venturing outside. Major winter storms are often followed by even colder conditions.
for more information please contact:
Emergency Manager CO-CEM