Friday, November 21, 2008

Winter Weather Awareness Week - part 5

...Winter weather awareness in the Mid-South...

Todays topic is winter weather safety rules for your home.

The best way to survive a winter storm is to plan and prepare for the hazards of winter weather. Although some winter storms develop quickly and with short notice...most events can be planned for.

At home...the primary concerns are for the potential loss of power...heat and telephone service. Food supplies may also run low if conditions persist for several days. Some items that should be readily available around the home prior to the onset of winter weather include...

-extra food and water...especially canned goods
-a flashlight with extra batteries
-first-aid supplies and extra medicine
-extra baby items
-extra wood for emergency heating
-a battery powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio

If power is lost...never use a gasoline or diesel-powered generator inside the the garage...or any other enclosed space. Generators can cause carbon monoxide to build up to deadly levels in enclosed spaces. Operate such generators outdoors only.

Another winter threat is house fires. December...January...and February are the leading months for house fires in this country. More than one-third of fire deaths occur during the winter months.

Here are some precautions you can take...

-central heating systems should be kept in proper working order. This includes regular inspections.
-Space heaters need to be at least 36 inches away from any flammable materials. The heaters should not be left on when no one is present or when people are asleep. The heaters should have automatic shut-off switches that turn the unit off if it tips over.
-Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. The fireplaces should have a sturdy screen... and only wood should be burned.
-Wood stoves should be installed...used...and maintained in accordance with instructions from the manufacturer. Use of a stove board will protect the floor. Only wood should be burned in the stove.
-Kitchen ranges and ovens...charcoal grills...and hibachis should never be used for heating.
-Carbon monoxide is another hazard. It is a colorless... odorless gas and is produced by gas-fired appliances... charcoal grills... and wood-burning furnaces and fireplaces. Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed to provide an early warning when the gas begins to build up.

This concludes this week's series on winter weather, brought to you by and the Memphis office of the National Weather Service.

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