As part of Winter Weather Awareness Week, Nov. 29 through Dec. 5, Yadkin County Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal urged residents of Yadkin County to update their emergency plans and stock their emergency supplies kits.
As seen last February, Yadkin County can have significant snowfalls of up to a foot or more. This amount of snow cannot only close business, but make roads impassable for some time.
“With predictions of more precipitation this winter because of El Nino and our very wet fall, Yadkin County residents should take the time to plan for winter now,” said Vestal. “North Carolina winters are unpredictable. Earlier this year, much of the state had saw some form of frozen precipitation whether it was snow, sleet or ice. Yadkin County residents shouldn’t take any chances. It’s better to prepare for the worse than to be surprised and facing a dangerous situation.”
Vestal added making an emergency plan, practicing it, having an emergency supply kit and staying informed to changing weather conditions will keep residents and their loved ones safe. He encouraged people to listen carefully to their National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio, local radio and television stations for storm watches or warnings.
“When winter weather warnings are issued, be prepared for possible power outages or roads made impassable by snow or ice,” he said.
Yadkin County Emergency Services reminded residents to practice the following winter safety tips:
• Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
• Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators OUTSIDE and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors.
• Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and weather radios.
• Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
• Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing to stay warm. You will be warmer and, as the temperature changes, you can easily remove layers to remain comfortable.
• If you must travel during a winter storm, store an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes: blankets, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, battery booster cables and flares, a tire repair kit and pump, a road map, a sack of cat litter (for tire traction), a tow rope, bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods such as granola bars, extra clothing to keep dry, and a windshield scraper and brush.
“Most deaths attributed to winter storms result from indirect dangers such as traffic accidents, falling trees, downed power lines, house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from improper use of space heaters, grills and stoves,” said Yadkin County Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard.
As a reminder, if driving on snow- or ice-covered roadways, reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide. Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles. If conditions worsen and you can no longer drive safely, pull off the highway. Stay calm, remain in your vehicle and call for help. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
For more information about how to be ready for winter weather, go to www.readync.org or download North Carolina Emergency Management’s free ReadyNC mobile app, which provides real-time traffic and weather plus open shelters and items needed in an emergency supplies kit.