|Winter Weather Safety
|By Vice President / Lieutenant Scot Best
|January 8, 2024
The threat of winter fires is real. Fifteen percent of all fire deaths occur in January, making it the deadliest month. Additionally, the 2nd week of January is nearly twice as deadly as the rest of the year. It’s important that you understand the severity and prevalence of winter fires:
• Although at its peak in December, residential building fire incidence is collectively highest in the three winter months of January, February, and March.
In addition, winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice and high winds.
Winter storms can:
Prepare your home against fire and CO poisoning by installing and testing smoke alarms and CO detectors. Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Use flashlights instead of candles. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights. Remember the needs of your pets.
Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Listen for emergency information and alerts. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
• Winter Storm Watch: Issued for the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm.
• Winter Storm Warning: Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.
Be prepared for winter weather at home, at work and in your car. Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water and non-perishable snacks. Keep a full tank of gas.