Tips for Preparing for the Blizzard

(WTNH)– With the upcoming blizzard, it is important to be prepared. Here are some tips to keep you safe during the severe winter weather.

The following tips are from the Norwalk Fire Department:

  • Stay off the roads, unless travel is essential.
  • If you must drive, make sure you have a full tank of gas and emergency supplies in case you are stranded.
  • If you need medication refills, food or other critical supplies, take time on Monday morning to complete these tasks.
  • Remove vehicles from the street. If a snow emergency is declared, vehicle owners parked on Emergency Response Routes may be ticketed and towed.
  • Clear snow and ice from sidewalks and footpaths that adjoin your property and clear fire hydrants as soon as possible.
  • Drivers must make sure their vision is not impaired by ice or snow and snow must be removed from roofs etc. so it does not slide off and impact or impair other operators.
  • DO NOT shovel or plow snow into the street after the DPW snow plow has begun clearing the street.
  • Remove soccer goals, basketball hoops and other such items from the sides of the streets. Remove holiday decorations that may become airborne in high winds.
  • If you have a true medical emergency, contact 911 for assistance, otherwise refrain from calling Police, Fire, Public Works or Customer Service to find out when your street will be plowed. Such calls detract from the City’s attention to the task at hand. Crews will be working diligently with available resources to clear all City streets as quickly as possible.
  • Be prepared for power outages. Keep your cell phone charged and have flashlights, batteries and other supplies.
  • If you lose power use flashlights or light sticks rather than candles, which can cause an added fire risk.

Additionally, Governor Malloy urges residents to have an emergency supply kit. Here is what should be included in the kit:

  • One gallon of bottled water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for you and your pet
  • A three-day supply of prescription medication
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes
  • Plastic trash bags and ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Extra fuel (stored in a safe container) for the power generator

For important generator safety tips, CL&P recommends you watch the “Using a Generator Safely” video on YouTube at http://youtu.be/IMD1pZc3EHM.

The Connecticut American Red Cross also provides helpful information and resources at http://www.ctredcross.org. They recommend to do the following during the Blizzard:

Use Caution Clearing Snow: Shoveling snow is strenuous work; take the task slow and easy to guard against over-exertion or back injury. Take regular breaks. If using a snow thrower, keep hands and feet clear of moving parts. Always turn off your snow thrower and use a stick or other implement to clear blockages, never use your hands. If there is a fire hydrant on your property, clear snow around the hydrant so it is accessible in the event of a fire.

Related: Tips to keep your pipes from freezing

Tips for Home and Car: Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. When the storm has passed, completely clear snow from all surfaces of your vehicle. It’s safer for you and other drivers and it’s the law in Connecticut. Be sure to keep furnace and gas dryer vents outside your home clear of snow to avoid the risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. If you lose power and heat, running water at a trickle from a faucet helps to prevent pipes from freezing.

Related: AAA tips on winterizing your car

Use Generators Safely: Never operate a generator inside homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, sheds or other partially enclosed spaces, even if using a fan or opening doors and windows. Carbon Monoxide (CO) can quickly build up in these spaces and linger for hours after a generator is shut down. Place your generator outside, well away from windows, doors and vents. Shut down the generator before refueling it. If you begin to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a portable generator, shut it off and get to fresh air immediately. You could have CO poisoning.

Related: Tips for protecting your home against cold weather

Use Care When Outdoors in the Cold: Dress in light layers so you can adapt to temperatures. Wear a hat; most of your body heat is lost through your head. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Wear insulated, waterproof footwear. Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms. Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.

– Use Technology to Prepare and Stay Safe: Download Red Cross preparedness apps for your smartphone. Their free apps have tips and real-time information to help you prepare, as well as tools to help you keep in touch during and after a major storm. In particular, the First Aid App has a special section devoted to severe winter weather with preparedness tips and information about coping during and after the storm. Get the apps for iPhones or Android phones at http://www.redcross.org/mobileapps.

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