Weekly Update: Are you prepared?
January 13, 2017
Many areas of the First Congressional District were hit hard by Winter Storm Grayson last week, and that serves as a reminder that we must always be prepared for future winter storms. Disasters may not be able to plan ahead, but you can!
I wanted to share with you some resources to assist you in helping to keep yourself, your family, and our communities safe in the event of extreme weather.
Preparing for a storm:
β’ Be Informed. Knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared.
β’ Compile an Emergency Kit. Use this downloadable checklist to ensure you have necessary supplies on hand.
β’ Family Emergency Plan. Make sure your family has a plan in case of an emergency so that everyone is on the same page about how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supply kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster.
β’ Prepare your home. Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
β’ Protect your vehicle. Fully winterize your vehicle: Have a mechanic check antifreeze, brakes, heater and defroster, tires, and windshield wipers to ensure they are in good shape. Keep your gas tank at least half full. Keep an extra emergency kit specifically created for your car. In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding a portable cell phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.
β’ Winter Storm Checklist. Review this Winter Storm Safety Checklist from the American Red Cross to prepare for the dangers of a winter storm.
β’ Additionally, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management has helpful winter weather safety information as well, you can view it here.
During Snowstorms and Extreme Cold:
β’ Stay indoors during the storm.
β’ Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; donβt travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
β’ Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
β’ Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attackβa major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
β’ Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
β’ If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
β’ Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
β’ Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.
After the storm is over:
β’ If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472). Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
β’ Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
β’ Restore utilities and report outages to your local energy provider
o Practice generator safety
o Northern Neck Electric Coop
o Rappahannock Electric Coop
β’ Prepare for next time!
So answer me this question, are you prepared? If the answer is no, please take the time to move through the resources above.
Please continue to contact me any time an issue that concerns you.
It's an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House.