ARE YOU PREPARED?
Winter Preparedness information
When wintry weather arrives, will your family be prepared?
Winter brings special seasonal challenges to an organized home. Winter storms can make navigating roads and walkways hazardous; power outages and snow days highlight any family's readiness for cold weather.
Take time to review or make your family's emergency preparedness with this Winter Preparedness Checklist. It'll help you prepare your home and automobile for cold-weather hazards.
Before Winter Storms and Extreme Cold you may consider the following:
Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways.
- Sand to improve traction.
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
- Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off.
- Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
- Have enough nonperishable food and drinking water on hand to last for 72 hours
- Keep a non-electric can opener in the house.
- Make sure your prescription medications are filled.
- Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Keep a battery operated radio in the house.
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
What is 72 Hour Preparedness?
The very basic level of preparedness is planning for 72-hours. That alone should be self-explanatory, make a kit that you can survive on, or out of, for three days. 72 hours is the time frame it may take for emergency responders, police, neighbors or family to reach you during a disaster. Keep in mind, 72 hours is for each member in your household, including your pets and other animals.
What to put in a kit:
Here are some simple steps you can take to get prepared in case of emergency or natural disaster.
First, choose a container that can withstand damages and one you can seal shut. Backpacks are a good choice for each member of the family that contains clothing and personnel items just for each member.
Store food items that are familiar to your family, rather than buying special emergency food items. Consider any dietary restrictions and preferences you may have. Ideal foods are: Shelf-stable (no refrigeration required), low in salt, and do not require cooking (e.g. canned fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, jam, low-salt crackers, cookies, cereals, nuts, dried fruit, canned soup or meats, juices and non-fat dry milk). Mark a rotation date on any food container that does not already have an expiration date on the package. Include baby food and formula or other diet items for infants or seniors. Store the food in airtight, pest-resistant containers in a cool, dark place. Most canned foods can safely be stored for at least 18 months. Low acid foods like meat products, fruits or vegetables will normally last at least 2 years. Use dry products, like boxed cereal, crackers, cookies, dried milk or dried fruit within six months.
After a power outage, refrigerated food will stay cold longer if you keep the door closed. Food should generally be consumed within 4 hours. Food in the freezer will normally remain safe for 2 days.
Talk with your family about potential disasters and why it's necessary to prepare for them. Involve each member of your family in the planning process. By showing them simple steps that can increase their safety, you can help reduce their anxiety about emergencies. Take into account the special needs of children, seniors or people with disabilities, family members that don’t speak English and pets.
Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supply kit and Go-bags. Plan where to meet after a disaster if your home becomes unsafe. Choose two places, one just outside your home and one outside your neighborhood in case you are told to evacuate. Be sure your gas tank is always at least half full. Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try to identify two escape routes. Make sure each member knows who your family’s out-of-state contact is and instruct them to call this person and tell him/her where they are. Locate the gas main and other utilities and make sure family members
Go-bags should be made for each member of the family. Keep them in a place that has been identified so everyone will know where they are. You may not be at home when a disaster strikes, so it is important to keep a go-bag in your car with what you would need just for immediate safety.
Ideas for a go-bag:
- Radio – battery operated
- Pocket knife
- Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
- Some water and food
- List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
- List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
- Copy of health insurance and identification cards
- Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
- Prescription medications and first aid supplies
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Extra keys to your house and vehicle
- Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.
Have a plan:
Decide before disaster hits, where you will go in case you are evacuated or you decide to leave your home. Before you leave, notify someone you are leaving and what route you will take. Take your pets, or make arrangements for them before you go. Leaving them alone with food and water really isn’t a plan. When you leave your home, lock your home and shut off gas/propane unless instructed otherwise. When you arrive at your designation, notify local authorities, so they know you are gone and how they may reach you if necessary.
Be Prepared when traveling:
Pay attention to the weather forecast for your destination. Travel and weather web sites can help you avoid storms and other regional challenges that could impact your safety.
Examples of emergency preparedness and items for your car:
- Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low.
- Antifreeze levels - ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Windshield wiper equipment. Repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Carry a bag with disaster supplies such as high protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, etc. in your truck.
- Have your cell phone and phone charger in the car.
- Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
Other items to consider:
- A shovel
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Battery powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Extra hats, socks and mitten
- Pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt and sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Fluorescent distress flag
- A map of the area
- Find out types of disasters may occur in the place where you are traveling. For example, would you know what to do in the event of a tornado?
Apache County Engineering and Roads Department has a Snow Removal and Cindering Policy in place. Priority Roads have been identified and are listed in their policy. Once the priority roads have been cleared, the county will begin work on other county maintained roads. If a road closure has been issued, a “Road Closed” sign will be placed on a wind master sign stand and placed in the middle of the road. These roads will be checked to assure there is nobody on the road at that time.
For winter emergencies check with the local news broadcast, listen to your local radio stations; go to www.wrh.noaa.gov for the National Weather Service; check with the Apache County Website at www.co.apache.az.us for emergency info and to monitor the Emergency Management Site which is located under “Departments” pull down menu. If a winter emergency has been issued, you can also call the 311hotline number or 928-333-3412. Online go to 311info.net or check the Emergency Management Facebook site.