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Feb 14

Washington Emergency Management Division

Keep safe during severe winter weather

Posted by Washington Emergency Management Division

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On Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means he predicts six more weeks of winter.  

Whether it is an early spring or six more weeks of winter, it’s important to be prepared for the weather. It’s also essential to know how to stay safe in severe winter weather with these tips from Ready.gov:

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack — a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible and lift lighter loads.
  • 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.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold.
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.

Find more winter safety information in the America’s PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for a Winter Storm guide.

To find out what winter weather advisories mean, visit this previous blog post.

And make sure you know how to get weather and emergency alerts.

More preparedness information, including our new 2 Weeks Ready brochure can be found on our website at mil.wa.gov/preparedness