Winter weather is here and it is time to prepare. This Winter Safety Awareness Week — which began Sunday and ends Saturday — serves as a reminder for all Ohioans to take steps to be better prepared for winter before it is too late.
We know that Ohio winters are often unpredictable, but are almost always more than just frigid temperatures, snow, and ice. Throughout the winter months of 2018, most of Ohio was inundated with heavy rains, severe storms, tornados, and landslides, which resulted in a total of 21 southern Ohio counties receiving a federal disaster declaration. This year, no matter the forecast, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) encourages Ohioans to plan and prepare for the winter season and its hazards.
Huron County Public Health encourages residents to review the following OCSWA recommendations and winter preparedness tips:
• Practice fire safety and prevention. With winter months and the holiday season, people are indoors more, and cook, decorate and entertain more – which unfortunately, can lead to more home fires.
• Test your smoke detectors monthly and conduct fire drills.
• Have auxiliary heaters, furnaces and fireplaces checked or serviced before using.
• Never leave cooking food unattended. Keep towels, potholders, and paper products away from the stove’s heat sources.
• Prepare your home for winter.
• Remove and cut away low-hanging and dead tree branches. Strong winds, ice and snow can cause tree limbs to break and could cause damage to your home.
• Have your gutters cleaned. Snow and ice can build up quickly if clogged with debris.
• Prepare winter emergency supplies kits for the home and vehicle.
• Winter emergency kits should include flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, a battery-operated radio/weather radio, first aid kit, cell phone and charger, and enough nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person, per day) to sustain every household member for several days. Store food, bottled water and supplies for your pets, as well.
• Check on your neighbors. After severe weather or during prolonged power outages, check on your neighbors and family members – particularly those who are older or have functional needs – to ensure that they are safe, healthy, and warm.
• Check your homeowners or renters insurance. Consider purchasing flood insurance. Know what to do if the power goes out. Prepare now, before winter sets in.
For additional information on winter weather safety and severe weather preparedness, visit OCSWA’s website: www.weathersafety.ohio.gov.