With winter approaching, Christmas is the right time to prepare for snow storms and cold weather, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency is offering winter preparedness tips for this holiday season.

REISTERSTOWN — With the arrival of the holiday season, it is important to make sure you are prepared for winter weather.

“As we enter the busy holiday season and areas across our state are more likely to experience winter weather, I urge all Marylanders to put safety first,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “By planning ahead and following local forecasts and warnings, we can all have a safe and enjoyable time with family and friends.”

No matter what part of the state you live in, the winter season brings the potential for cold weather, slippery roads and sidewalks. Simple steps such as making a family communications plan and winterizing your family’s emergency supply kit can increase preparedness throughout the holiday season.

“We already experienced a winter storm for most parts of Maryland last week,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “History shows us that most of the state will experience some bad weather over the next few months. Our message is simple: Make preparations now so you can avoid the last minute rush for snow shovels, salt, and other winter essentials.”

MEMA has gathered a number of winter preparedness and safety tips that will be shared throughout the season through our social media channels. Here are some of the highlights:

• When cold weather hits, you should check on the welfare of family, friends, and neighbors who are particularly vulnerable to cold, snow, and ice — this may include the elderly and those with access and functional needs

• Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter travel and that you have prepared your pets for bad weather

• Check and winterize your vehicle, including all fluids, wiper blades, lights and systems before the winter season begins

• Have a car emergency kit in your vehicle

• Follow a trusted weather source, such as the National Weather Service and local news media, to be aware of any predicted frozen precipitation or severe cold temperatures

• Sign up for emergency alerts in your area and determine how you will receive information if you are traveling out of town

• Visit for more information on emergency alert options

• Build a home preparedness kit that includes winter supplies such as snow shovels, ice melting products, extra warm clothes and blankets, flashlights and batteries

• Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out

• Leave the heat on in your home and set the thermostat to no lower than 50° Fahrenheit If you will be going away during cold weather

• Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines

• ID your pet with up-to-date name tags and rabies tags; include your cell phone number on the tag

• Practice safe cooking behaviors since cooking is the biggest cause of home fires and fire injuries

• Consider using battery-operated flameless candles. They look and smell real! Learn more about candle fire safety at the U.S. Fire Administration website.

In addition to these tips, MEMA please check out this winter preparedness tip video on the MEMA YouTube Channel. Additional information about winter preparedness can be found on MEMA website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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