There is no more denial, winter is here and we’re about to get hit with a blast of winter weather. It is time to step up and be sure we’re prepared.

Here are some items to take care of TODAY:

  • Know the terms. At this time the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch effective from 4am Friday until 7pm Saturday. However, be informed of changing weather conditions online, via NOAA weather radio or local news, and by signing up for alerts.
  • Secure loose items outside and, if safe, remove any hanging branches or other items that may break off in the wind or with the weight of snow and ice.
  • Keep clear of any downed or low hanging lines and report them immediately.
    • Check your Emergency Supply Kits – do you have extra winter clothes, sufficient food and water, extra batteries, flashlights, and a battery or hand-crank radio? What about medications, toys for the kids, pet food, and copies of important information such as numbers for your local utilities.
    • Gas up the car – a full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing! It’s a good idea to check your antifreeze and windshield washer fluid levels to be sure they are sufficient.
    • Minimize your travel. If travel is necessary, keep an Emergency Kit in your car that includes a small shovel, windshield scraper and small broom, flashlight, battery operated radio, extra batteries, water, snacks, warm clothes, first aid kit, blankets, road salt and sand, jumper cables, brightly colored distress flag, and emergency flares.
    • Know how to shut off water valves to your home in case a pipe bursts and let the faucets drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
    • Keep some plastic sheeting, good tape, weather stripping and other items on hand to shore up drafty windows and doors, especially if a power outage leaves you without heat.
    • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire. Be sure to follow instructions carefully andinstall/check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home.
    • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water. Don’t forget or skip planning and preparing for your animals
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