Wednesday, November 13, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY – Nearly six months after the start of deadly tornadoes that struck the state, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and FEMA urge Oklahomans to continue to stay prepared for severe weather.
During this time of year, that means being ready for hazardous winter weather conditions. Wednesday, Nov. 13 is Winter Weather Preparedness Day in Oklahoma. As we near the winter weather season, this is a time for Oklahomans to become prepared for freezing temperatures and the snow and ice that may accompany them.
Before traveling, prepare your vehicle:
Always heed the warnings of law enforcement and transportation officials regarding road conditions and refrain from traveling when possible.
If you must travel during a snow or ice event, allow extra time to reach your destination, and make sure you have plenty of fuel.
Be particularly cautious on bridges and overpasses as they will be the first to freeze. Stay back at least 200 feet behind salt and sand equipment in order to stay safe.
Always wear your seat belt.
Bring a cell phone with an emergency roadside assistance number. (In case of emergency, you can call the Oklahoma Highway Patrol at *55 or 911.)
If you must go out during a winter storm, let someone know your destination, as well as your route and when you expect to arrive.
If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle. After snowfall has stopped, hang a brightly-colored cloth on the radio antenna and raise the hood.
Carry extra clothing, blankets and high energy snacks, such as cereal or candy bars in your car for protection if car stalls.
Pack a kit that includes:
Know what winter storm and blizzard watches and warnings mean:
Understand the hazards of wind chill. A strong wind combined with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a still air temperature of 35 degrees or colder.
Check for weather-related road conditions through the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety at dps.state.ok.us or by calling toll free, (888) 425-2385 or (405) 425-2385.
Check on friends, relatives and neighbors who live alone, especially seniors and those with disabilities.
Develop a family disaster plan for winter storms. Discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together when a winter storm hits.
Make sure pets have food and water and a place to seek shelter.
While indoors, try to keep at least one room heated to 70 degrees to prevent hypothermia. This is especially important for seniors and children.
Stay warm at night with extra blankets, a warm cap, socks and layered clothing.
To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing. Know how to shut off water valves if necessary.
Keep safe emergency-heating equipment, such as a fireplace with wood. Always be cautious in using a portable space heater and never leave the heater on when you are not in the room or when you go to bed.
Find a full list of winter weather preparedness tips or sign up now to receive weather alerts on your cell phone or other email address at OEM.OK.gov.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides additional information online about winter weather watches, warnings and advisories: srh.noaa.gov/ama/?n=wwad.