Prepare for Winter Emergencies
Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security (FCEM&HS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are encouraging residents to brush up on their cold-weather safety plans.
Central Ohio has weathered its fair share of winter storms and blizzards. These weather events can come on quickly so it is important to plan ahead for emergencies.
FEMA and FCEM&HS advocate residents focus on three steps for winter safety: to start preparing now, to learn how to survive during a storm and to be ready to recognize and respond to emergency situations. Steps to consider include, but are not limited to:
- Take a look around your home to ensure it is ready for the winter:
- Add/fix insulation where needed
- Attend to any caulking or weather stripping that may be needed.
- Install/test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years. Let the Westerville Fire Division install new alarms in your home for free. Learn about “You Call, We’ll Install” today.
- Ensure you have a working fire extinguisher in the home.
- Start gathering and setting aside supplies to help your family (including pets) survive in case of a long-term power outage. FEMA recommends storing at least enough food and water to sustain every person in the home for three days. Download FEMA’s Basic Emergency Supply Checklist.
- Water (extra if you have pets)
- Easy-open non-perishable food
- Pet food (three-day supply for each pet in the home)
- Extra medications
- Battery-operated radio
- Create an emergency kit for your vehicle:
- Jumper cables
- Ice scraper
- Cell phone charger
- Cat litter or sand for tire traction
- Flares/reflective triangle
- Blanket, hat and gloves
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- If possible, stay off the roads during a winter weather emergency.
- If you find yourself stranded in your vehicle, stay put, buckle up and turn on your hazard lights. If you are using the heater, check the tailpipe frequently to ensure it is clear of snow to prevent a carbon monoxide buildup. Learn more from FEMA.
- At home, only use generators and grills outside and far away from the house.
- Limit time outside
- Check on your neighbors. Older adults and young children are at an increased risk for illness and injury during extreme cold.
Recognize and Respond:
- What is it? Tissue damage caused by exposure to extreme cold.
- Symptoms: Numbness or tingling sensation, white/grayish/yellow-colored skin, firm or waxy skin texture
- Actions: Call 9-1-1. Go to a warm room. Soak the affected area in warm (not hot) water. Do not attempt to rub the impacted area.
- What is it? Unusually low body temperature. According to FEMA, a temperature under 95 degrees is considered an emergency.
- Symptoms: Redness or blue-colored skin, numbness and shivering, slurred speech, listlessness and/or erratic behavior.
- Actions: Call 9-1-1. Remove any wet clothing. Wrap person in blankets or place them in a warm (not hot) bath. Offer warm drinks and high-energy food. Do not attempt to rub person to generate heat.
Find more information about winter weather preparedness at www.ready.gov.