Winter Storm Safety Alert for Anne Arundel County: Winter storms and cold temperatures can be deadly. Power outages, frozen docks and slippery roadways all contribute to injuries and deaths every year. Evolve Medical brings you a reminder of what you should (and shouldn’t) do to protect you and your family during Winter Storm Toby.
Start with these Steps for Your Home
Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, particularly during a winter storm, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety.
Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.
- Check your heating systems.
- Have your heating system serviced professionally.
- Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
- Smoke detectors: Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
- Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
- Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
- Install a CO detector
- Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
- Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
- Install a CO detector
- Winterize your home.
- Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
- Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
- Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
Going Outside During a Winter Storm:
Stay Warm, Don’t Over Exert — And Try not to Fall
Every year, a number of Anne Arundel country residents end up being rushed to the hospital having a heart attack. Many more are seen at urgent care or the ER for hypothermia and frost bite. Even more are seen for falls.
An ounce of prevention goes a long way.
- Wear appropriate outdoor clothing.
- Layers of light, warm clothing.
- Keep your head, hands and feet warm!
- Mittens, hats, scarves.
- Waterproof boots.
- Layers of light, warm clothing.
- Watch for falls: the number 1 winter-related injury.
- Use salt or cat litter on walk ways
- Avoid quick, sudden movements
- Watch for black ice on driveways
- Work slowly when doing outside chores.
- If you don’t feel well, are short of breath or start having chest pain, stop immediately. Don’t try to finish that last little bit.
- Strongly consider getting your annual physical if you are overdue.
- Symptoms of impending heart attacks can be subtle and are often ignored. See your Primary Care if you have any doubts or questions.
Be ready to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards.
Equip for Emergencies in PRIOR to Winter Storms
Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.
- Stock food which does not require cooking or refrigeration.
- Stock water stored in clean containers.
- Remember: well water pumps won’t work in a power outage!
- Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
- Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
- Flashlight with extra batteries.
- First-aid kit and extra medicine.
- Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
- Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
- Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
- Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.
What to do if Stranded During a Winter Storm
Being stranded in your car can be very dangerous. The first effect of hypothermia is the inability to think clearly, so preparation is everything. When planning travel, be aware of forecast weather conditions.
- Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
- If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
- Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.
- Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away, but continue to move arms and legs.
- Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
- Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
- Keep a downwind window open.
- Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.
- Keep a winter emergency safety kit in your trunk at all times
- Warm, wool blankets (one for each person in the car)
- Old pair of winter boots (in case you go off the road in your work shoes or sneakers)
- Keep extra gloves, mittens or hats and throw a few hand warmers in the trunk
- Old newspapers can act as good insulation for the windows
- Eating snow
- Survival experts advise DO NOT eat snow as it can lower your body temperature
- Instead, collect snow in a container and let it melt first
Don’t Forget to Prepare Your Car
- Check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
- Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
- Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level.
- Keep the gas tank filled!
Reminder: Don’t Forget Your Pets
If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.
Here are some additional tips from the SPCA:
- Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
- Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws.
- Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells.
- Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents.
- Feed your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months-they burn calories faster during the winter cold.
- Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.
- Don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
The City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management offers a free mobile app called “Code RED” which can be very helpful during a winter storm. This app will promptly notify you of hazardous weather conditions or critical community alerts. You can download it here.
If you have any questions about your health, would like to have your heart risk assessed or need urgent care, Evolve Medical is happy to see you. Same day scheduling on-line here or call 844-322-4222. Or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.