Editorial

It's early, but not too early to think winter safety

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Today is Missouri Winter Weather Awareness Day.

Missourians know the type of weather that can bring our daily routines to a halt. For all the fun we have with #breadalerts and poking fun at our own frantic anticipation of every potential winter storm, there are some precautions we can think about well ahead of time.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety and the National Weather Service offer some tips:

* Create a family emergency plan and an emergency kit. Emergency supplies should include bottled water, canned and dry foods, battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, manual can opener and a first-aid kit. When power outages are possible, charge cell phones and other devices in advance so you are able to communicate if power is lost.

* Assemble a separate vehicle winter emergency kit. Include a blanket, radio with spare batteries, snacks or energy-type food, jumper cables, flares, shovel and sand or shingles to give tires traction.

* Know the risks of exposure to cold temperatures. Protect against frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting clothing in several layers. Limit time spent outdoors in frigid temperatures and stay indoors, if possible.

* Avoid driving whenever possible when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog. If travel is necessary, make sure an emergency kit is in the vehicle, that cell phones are charged and emergency numbers are saved for fast dialing. Check on road conditions in advance on the Missouri Department of Transportation's Traveler Info Map. If your vehicle breaks down or slides off the road, stay with your vehicle and call or wait for help.

* Make sure alternate heat and power sources, such as fireplaces, woodstoves, kerosene heaters and generators function properly. Proper ventilation is essential. Properly install carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home. Only operate generators outdoors.

* Space heaters are supplemental heating sources and should be turned off when leaving a room or going to bed. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from heating equipment. Never overload extension cords or electrical outlets. Spaces heaters should never be used in place of a primary heating system.

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