TVFR: Winter Storms Safety… whether indoors, outdoors or driving on the road
Winter storms can be dangerous, bringing heavy winds, freezing temperatures, power failures, as well as icy or flooded roads. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue encourages you to prepare yourself and your family for winter storms by following these safety tips:
- Have a professional perform annual inspections of your heating system and make any necessary repairs. If you have a fireplace, have the chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
- Bring pets and smaller animals inside to keep them warm and dry.
- Keep heating sources at least 3 feet away from materials that can burn, and never leave lit candles or other flames unattended.
- Have a disaster supply kit with bedding, clothing, first-aid supplies, flashlights, food, a battery-operated radio, and water to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of any emergency. For more information on 72-hour kits, visit www.tvfr.com.
- Know the shut-off locations for your electricity, natural gas, and water.
- During a power outage, turn off major appliances to reduce power demands when electricity is restored.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in the home and test them regularly.
- Minimize outdoor activities whenever possible. If you must venture outdoors, dress appropriately for the weather conditions you may encounter and avoid getting wet to prevent hypothermia.
- Don’t overestimate how far you can walk on extremely cold, rainy, or snowy days.
- Use extreme caution when stepping outside in icy conditions, particularly in the morning when it’s coldest and the ice hasn’t had a chance to melt.
- Insulate exposed water pipes with fiberglass or foam to protect them from freezing.
- Report power outages to your electric company and NEVER touch a downed power line!
- If you have pets or livestock that must be outside, provide a sheltered area and access to non-frozen drinking water.
Safety Behind the Wheel
- Avoid traveling when the weather service issues storm advisories.
- If you must drive, drive much slower than you would in ideal weather conditions.
- Have your car inspected to ensure it’s in proper running condition. A breakdown during extreme weather can put you and your passengers in danger.
- Replace worn tires, belts, leaking radiator hoses, and burned-out headlights and taillights.
- Ensure your radiator has an appropriate antifreeze for the conditions you will encounter.
- Have an emergency kit in your car equipped with blankets, flashlights, snacks, tools, a shovel, and kitty litter or sand for traction in case of an unexpected delay or emergency.
- Keep your gas tank more than half full. Should a power outage occur, you may have difficulty finding a service station that can fill your tank.
- If you plan to travel in the mountains, carry the appropriate chains or traction devices required by law.
For more fire and life safety tips, visit www.tvfr.com.