State: Stay Safe During Winter Storm Nemo

February 7, 2013

in News

The Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is calling the upcoming storm a “good old fashioned Vermont snowfall,” but it wants to remind residents to stay safe.
The state agency released tops for health and travel safety in advance of the storm Friday. It says the snow should be “light and fluffy,” but reminds everyone to: “Drive safe, check on your neighbors, and otherwise keep yourself from the health hazards that present themselves in even the tamest of storms.”
Here are the safety tips from VDEMHS:
• Residents should use caution when digging out. Excessive snow shoveling can cause a range of health problems, from back injuries to heart attack, if not done in moderation. Vermonters should not over exert themselves and should take frequent breaks from shoveling.
• Vermonters who are able to help elderly neighbors and others who need assistance in removing snow are encouraged to do so. Residents are also asked to check on the welfare of elderly neighbors and those with special needs during the storm. The elderly and those with special needs should contact their local power company and local community officials prior to the storm to alert them of those needs in the event of a power outage.
• As always, it is advisable to have an emergency preparedness kit on hand with some or all of the following items:
• Flashlights and batteries in your home and car;
• A battery-powered radio or NOAA weather radio to listen for advisories;
• Bottled water; 1 gallon per person, per day is advised;
• Non-perishable food for the home and car;
• A first aid kit.
• It is critical as snow piles up to ensure all outside heating vents are clear of snow. A blocked vent can lead to carbon monoxide buildup in the home and CO poisoning. Prolonged carbon monoxide exposure can be fatal, so it is imperative that vents be cleared as a blocked vent can create the danger of CO poisoning. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to flu, but without the fever and may include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. If you suspect that you are experiencing CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department for assistance from a safe location.
If power is lost and you run a generator, it is important that the generator is outdoors; an improperly operated generator can lead to CO poisoning; check your owner’s manual before operating a generator. Also ensure your generator is installed according to manufacturers’ standards; an improperly installed generator can feed back onto power lines, creating a hazard to line workers.
• If while traveling you get stuck in deep snow, do not let your engine idle if your exhaust pipe is buried. Idling with a buried exhaust pipe also risks carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect that you are experiencing CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately.
• Other tips for the road:
• Check road and weather conditions before leaving.
• The single most important rule is to drive at a speed that matches the prevailing visibility, traffic and road conditions. The posted speed limits are for dry, clear conditions only. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of extra room, extend the following distance from other vehicles ahead.
• Carry a cell phone and use 911 in case of an emergency, but do not become over dependent on a cell phone.


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