Columbus – Hopefully, “Polar Vortex” and “Arctic Blast” will be erased from our
vocabulary this winter. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), this
winter’s buzz term will be “El Niño.” El Niño is a large-scale,
ocean-atmosphere climate interaction that causes a periodic warming in sea
surface temperatures across the Pacific. This winter, Ohio could see
warmer-than-average temperatures, but cold air outbreaks and snow storms will
still likely occur.
To help Ohioans prepare for this year’s cold season,
Gov. John R. Kasich and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA)
are promoting Winter Safety Awareness Week, November 15-21. During this week,
Gov. Kasich encourages household and businesses to update their safety plans,
replenish their disaster supply kit, and prepare themselves and their property
for winter-related incidents.
“Especially before the cold and snowy weather hits,
Winter Safety Week is the perfect time to update your supply kits for your home
and for your vehicles,” said Sima Merick, executive director of the Ohio
Emergency Management Agency. “Check the expiration dates on your nonperishable
food. Stock up on bottled water. Refresh supplies in your first aid kits.
Ensure you have jumper cables and supplies in your car. Make sure your vehicle
is road-ready and winterized. And don’t forget to check the batteries in your
flashlights, radios and smoke detectors.”
When the weather is bad, driving can get pretty
hectic. Before getting on the road, it’s best to know before you go. Pay
attention to weather forecasts and traffic reports. Listen for reports of
school and business closings, snow emergencies, traffic delays or road
closures. Plan your drive time accordingly.
To help prepare for winter, OCSWA recommends the
Prepare your home for winter.
and remove low-hanging and dead tree branches. Ice, snow and strong winds can
cause tree limbs to break and fall. Have your gutters cleaned. Snow and ice can
build up quickly if gutters are clogged with debris. Have auxiliary heaters,
furnaces and fireplaces maintenance checked or serviced before using. If using
a portable generator, read instructions thoroughly to guard against carbon
monoxide poisoning. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy; talk with your
insurance agent about the financial risks that winter can bring. Consider
purchasing flood insurance.
Prepare winter disaster
kits for the home and vehicle.
Refresh stored nonperishable foods and bottled
water. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors
and radios. Winter emergency kits should include warm clothing, blankets,
flashlights, new batteries, coats, hats, gloves, a battery-operated or
hand-cranked radio, first aid kit, and enough nonperishable food and water (one
gallon per person, per day) to sustain every family member
for several days. Have stored food, bottled water and supplies for your pets,
Invest in a NOAA Public Alert/Weather Radio.
Every home, school and business should have a tonealert weather radio with a
battery back-up. Weather and public alert radios are programmed to
automatically sound an alert during public safety and severe weather events.
Click on www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/for additional information.
Update your disaster preparedness plans.
Every home, school, and business should have written plans for the different
types of disasters that can occur. Review the plans with the entire family or
staff. Everyone should know what to do in the event of a snow or ice storm, a
prolonged power outage, a flood or fire. Post contact information for your
local emergency management agency. Prepare and practice drills that require
sheltering in place and evacuation. Update your emergency contact list and
establish a meeting place outside of the home, school or business, where others
will know where to find or meet you.
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