"Despite the fact that our recent winters have been fairly mild, we have to be prepared for severe winter storms," said Easley. "People should update their household emergency plans and make sure families have water, non-perishable food, blankets and other supplies now, before ice and snow arrive."
Some forecasters have predicted a colder than normal winter and parts of the state have already had unusually early snows.
The National Weather Service says winter storms can sometimes develop quickly, so it is important that all citizens monitor changing weather conditions by listening to local radio and television stations for storm watches or warnings.
When winter weather warnings are issued, the public should be prepared for hazardous travel conditions as well as power outages that can occur with snow or ice.
Easley warned that most deaths attributed to winter storms are the result of traffic accidents, falling trees, downed power lines, house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from improper use of space heaters, grills and stoves.
- He urged all citizens to observe these winter safety tips:
- Keep alternative heating sources ready. 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, keep any generators OUTSIDE and away from 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 water and 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 bag 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.
- If you must drive 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 and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
The Department of Crime Control and Public Safety and the National Weather Service work together to give the public the most up-to-date and accurate weather and safety information to help citizens take the proper measures to protect themselves and their loved ones from the effects of dangerous winter storms.
For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, visit www.readync.org.