Winter preparedness tips

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency and other state partners have gathered a number of winter preparedness and safety tips that will be shared throughout Maryland Winter Safety Week and the winter 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.

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

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 Ready.gov/alerts for more information on emergency alert options.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter travel

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.

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

Identify your pet with up-to-date name tags and rabies tags; include your cell phone number on the tag. Or, your pet can be microchipped, and most vets or animal control agencies can scan the chip to help locate the owner.

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.

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 from the U.S. Fire Administration at www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/holiday.htm

In addition to these tips, please check out this winter preparedness tip video (bit.ly/Winter-Preparedness-Tips) on MEMA’s YouTube Channel. Additional information about winter preparedness can be found on MEMA’s website (www.mema.maryland.gov), Twitter feed, Facebook page, LinkedIn page and YouTube site.

Follow me on Twitter @connie_stardem.

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