Cold Weather Safety Tips
COLUMBIA - With below freezing temperatures approaching Wednesday night, United Way offered tips to take during cold weather advisories, emergencies, and warnings.
United Way said taking preventative action is the best way to brave the extreme cold weather conditions. Preparation can help reduce the risk of weather-related health problems.
Below are tips to help keep you safe and warm during cold weather emergencies.
Personal cold weather tips:
• Dress in layered clothing and wear some sort of head gear/covering.
• Check space heaters for sufficient ventilation and wire condition.
• Never place space heaters close to flammable objects, such as drapes or bedding or on top of furniture or near water.
• Make sure fireplace flues are working properly.
• Check extension cords for breaks or fraying.
• Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors.
• Check on your neighbors.
• Keep pets indoors.
• Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Insulate walls and attic.
• Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
• Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.
• Insulate any water lines that run along outer walls.
• Service snow-removal equipment.
• Have chimney and flue inspected.
• Install easy-to-read outdoor thermometers.
• Prepare your home and car with cold weather safety kits.
Before a winter storm hits:
• Have a week's worth of food and safety supplies.
• Keep a water supply.
• Make sure you have at least one of the following in case there is a power failure:
Battery-powered radio (for listening to local emergency instructions).
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio receiver (for listening to National Weather Service broadcasts).
And have extra batteries.
• Find out how your community warns the public about severe weather conditions.
• Listen to emergency broadcasts.
Winter storm warning terms:
• Winter weather advisory (Expect winter weather conditions to cause inconvenience and hazards).
• Frost/freeze warning (Expect below-freezing temperatures).
• Winter storm watch (Be alert. A storm is likely).
• Winter storm warning (Take action. The storm is in or entering the area).
• Blizzard warning (Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snow drifts, and life-threatening wind chills).
United Way also offers hotlines to call if emergency situations.
If you are in need of a warming shelter or if you need heating bill assistance, call 2-1-1 from a land line or 800-427-4626. All calls are free,confidential, and available 24 hours a day.