In addition to freezing temperatures and snow and ice, winter brings dangerous driving conditions and the potential for destructive and deadly storms. That’s why the National Weather Service, State Emergency Management Agency, and local Missouri emergency managers are teaming up to promote November 15-19, 2021, as Winter Weather Preparedness Week. in Missouri.
âMost Missourians have experienced freezing temperatures and icy road conditions, but many do not take the necessary steps to prepare so they don’t get stuck in the cold,â said Jim Remillard, director of the Agency. state emergency management. “By designating November 15-19, 2021 as Winter Weather Readiness Week, we encourage everyone to prioritize safety this winter and remind all Missourians to prepare ahead for severe storms. , on the road and at home. â
In 2020, there were more than 5,500 vehicle crashes in Missouri in which snow or ice were a factor, which resulted in 1,698 injuries and 26 deaths, according to preliminary results provided by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Even if it is not directly involved in an accident, an accident blocking the roadway could block other drivers for hours. Avoiding non-essential travel during winter storms is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident or getting stranded. It also allows snow removal crews to clear roads faster and first responders to intervene more quickly in the event of an accident.
The residents of Missour should also take these winter preparations into account and be prepared to take the necessary measures in the event of inclement weather to ensure the safety of their families.
- Create a family emergency plan and emergency kit. Emergency supplies should include bottled water, canned and dry foods, a battery-operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries, a manual can opener, and a first aid kit. When power outages are possible, charge cell phones and other devices in advance so that you can communicate in the event of a power outage.
- Assemble a separate winter vehicle emergency kit. Include a blanket, a radio with spare batteries, snacks or energy-type food, jumper cables, flares, a shovel, and sand or shingles to give the tires traction.
- Avoid driving when possible in bad conditions. Postpone the trip if possible. If driving is required, make sure an emergency kit is in the vehicle, your gas tank is more than half full, cell phones are charged, and emergency numbers are recorded for quick dialing. Check road conditions ahead of time on the Missouri Department of Transportation’s travel information map. Allow extra time, expect delays, reduce speed, and increase tracking distance. Always drive according to the conditions, NOT the posted speed limit. If your vehicle breaks down or slips off the road, stay with your vehicle and call or wait for help.
- Make sure that alternative sources of heat and electricity, such as fireplaces, wood stoves, kerosene heaters, and generators are working properly. These sources can be dangerous and must be maintained and exploited. Keep the correct fuel for each source handy in a safe place. Good ventilation is essential. Properly install carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. Use generators only outdoors.
- Remember that heaters are dangerous and potentially fatal when misused. Space heaters account for about a third of home heating fires and 80 percent of home heating fire deaths each year. These devices are sources of backup heat and should be turned off when you leave a room or go to bed. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heaters. Never overload extension cords or electrical outlets. Radiators should never be used in place of a main heating system.
- Know the risks of exposure to cold. In 2020, 41 people would have died from low body temperatures due to prolonged exposure to cold, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services. Protect yourself against frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose fitting clothing in several layers. Avoid alcohol, limit time spent outdoors in freezing weather, and stay indoors if possible. Find the nearest warming center on the DHSS website.
Find more information on winter weather, including safe winter driving techniques, injury prevention while shoveling, and more tips here.