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Severe Winter Weather Survival Guide 

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A Quick Guide for Winter Storm Preparedness

Hampton Roads (December 2011) - November 30 marked the end of the 2011 Hurricane Season. There were some 19 named storm systems this year and thankfully only one, Hurricane Irene made landfall here in the states. Now it’s time to prepare for winter and the havoc that severe winter storms can play in our homes, cities and communities.

While you’re doing your holiday shopping, think about pulling together some basic supplies just in case a fast moving snow storm or nor’easter hits the Hampton Roads region. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following advice to help you get your home ready.

For Your House
Your home can really be your haven during severe winter weather. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your house is ready for anything this winter:

  • Insulate walls and attic
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside
  • Insulate any water lines that run along outer walls
  • Service any snow-removal equipment
  • Have chimney and flu inspected if you are going to use a fireplace or wood-burning stove for heat
  • Install easy-to-read outdoor thermometer
  • Wrap water pipes to insulate from freezing temperatures. Or,
  • Leave facets dripping on especially cold nights to prevent water pipes from freezing (you can also leave cabinet doors open to allow for warm airflow)

When the big winter storm or nor’easter hits, it may take some time to dig out from under a mountain of snow or dry out from rain forced into your home by heavy winds. Make sure your family is prepared to hunker down for a few days by stocking up on a few emergency supplies. You should have the following items on hand:

  • Battery-powered radio
  • NOAA weather radio for listening to National Weather Service
  • Drinking water
  • Canned/no-cook food (bread, crackers, dried fruits)
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Baby food and formula (if necessary for baby)
  • 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

For Your Car
Don’t forget to winterize your car, too. And, always keep your gas tank full during winter weather so that you will be able to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Make sure you arrive at your destination by checking the following:

  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Heater
  • Brakes
  • Ignition
  • Emergency flashers
  • Exhaust
  • Tires (air pressure and wear)
  • Fuel
  • Oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Defroster
  • Battery
  • Radiator

Additionally, keep an emergency car kit, blanket, kitty litter, chains in your trunk, just in case you get stuck. Also keep a supply of cash on hand, in case a winter storm knocks out electrical power in your community and ATMs become inaccessible.

Monitor local television and radio stations for Sentara operational updates such as SMG office closings, Mobile Meals cancellations and other changes or the closing of various programs and/or services.

Don’t get caught unprepared this winter. For more information, visit the American Redcross website; Ready Virginia; the Hampton Roads Emergency Management Committee or your locality’s Emergency Preparedness and Response office.

Related Links:
American Redcross
Ready Virginia
Hampton Roads Emergency Management Committee

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