Winter will soon be upon us, and many are predicting a strong winter season. To encourage residents to get ready for chilly weather, Winter Preparedness week runs December 2-8 this year. Here are some important tips:
- Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad. It’s always best to stay off roads during winter storms. Most traffic crashes happen within the first two hours after a storm starts. Get road conditions by calling 511 or visiting www.511Virginia.org.
- If you heat with a fireplace or wood stove: Have a professional check it, especially if it has been a long time since the last cleaning. Residue can build up and cause fires.
- Safe use of space heaters: Never plug them into extension cords; plug into wall outlets. Keep space heaters at least three feet from other objects, and turn off before going to bed.
- Stay informed during power outages. Be sure you have a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio (and extra batteries). Get one with the NOAA Weather Radio band so you can hear winter weather reports directly from the National Weather Service as well as local radio stations. These are available at electronics, discount and sporting goods stores, and online from many retail outlets. Models are available for those with special needs.
- Don’t use candles during power outages: Many home fires in winter are caused by candles. Flashlights are much safer. Be sure to have plenty of extra batteries.
- Family emergency plan. If your family cannot return home because of severe weather or closed roads, you need to decide now on where you will meet to reunite. You also need an out-of-town relative or friend to be your family emergency contact. Learn more about making a plan for winter weather and all emergencies – and get a free family emergency plan worksheet – at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. Use our Preparedness App to keep your plan handy.
Winter Preparedness Video
About the Author (Author Profile)
David Morrison has been Arlington County’s Regional Emergency Planner since January 2011. His time in Arlington Office of Emergency Management began in 2005 as an International City/County Manager’s Association (ICMA) Fellow. Most of Morrison’s experience is in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) setting, including a deployment to the State of Florida’s EOC after Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and a number of smaller-scale incidents in Arlington County. Recent events include the Derecho in June 2012, Hurricane Sandy and the 2013 Inauguration. Morrison also spent two years as the Assistant to the Director in the County’s Department of Environmental Services.