Winter is NOT Far Away by Chet Sergey,  Wolcott LEPC Chairman

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There are hints that by the time you read this we will have had our first measurable snow.  Winters swing from the warmest to the coldest, from the driest to the wettest, from the snowiest to the iciest.    Hopefully the severe weather events of the last few years have awaken you to the importance of emergency preparedness or at the very least sent a strong message to those who would still choose to ignore these recommendations!  Most of the items on the list below apply to all potential disasters, which can be very unpredictable for the long term.

My snow thrower will be checked and started (I always keep plenty of fuel on hand for it and my emergency generator), and I only have to put sand and a shovel in my car before the first snow.  All the door gaskets on my vehicles have been sprayed with silicone lube to reduce the chances of the doors freezing shut with a wild combo of rain, sleet and/or snow followed by a deep freeze.  Everything else I might need is permanently in place.  Will this be a winter to test our fortitude with several significant storms (read “blizzards” and or “ice storms”), or will it be mild and uneventful.  As always, hope for the best and prepare for the worst by reviewing this checklist:

*  Car winterized and winter wiper blades installed

*  Gas tank at least 1/2 full at all times and ALWAYS filled up before the storm

*  Winter car emergency kit (heavy coat, tools, sand, shovel, tire chains, jumper cables, change of                            clothes, deicer, windshield washer fluid and scraper, first aid kit, flashlight and extra batteries, high                    energy food and drink, brightly colored cloth to tie to antenna, spare “winter” wiper blade)

            *  Extra blankets or sleeping bags (car and home)

*  Spare flashlights and alkaline batteries (car and home) – inexpensive LED type preferred

*  Non-perishable food supply to last a minimum of 7 days and a manual can opener at home

*  At least a 3 (preferably 7) day supply of drinking water, minimum one gallon per day per person

*  First aid kit including family prescriptions and over-the-counter medications

*  Cellular phone fully charged and/or with a spare battery plus a hard wired (plug –in) phone for home                   (portable phones do not work when the power is out) – note that texting often gets through when voice won’t.

*  NOAA Weather Alert Radio, portable radio/digital TV and extra alkaline batteries for them

*  Emergency telephone numbers by the phone

*  Family emergency plan that is complete and up to date

*  Fire extinguisher plus smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with fresh batteries

*  Snow shovels, sand and de-icer in a convenient place

*  Snow blower tuned up and a proper container for fresh gas to be stored outside the home

*  A properly installed emergency generator with adequate fuel for at least one week

*  An evacuation plan and supplies kit (bedding, clothes, toiletries, financial and insurance info, cash –        enough to cover all of one week’s expenses – other methods of payment may not be accepted if the power is out –   credit cards, checkbook, prescriptions and other medications)

*  An emergency care plan for pets (not all shelters have facilities for them)

*  Childcare arrangements if you are delayed getting home or if school is dismissed early

*  Knowing or learning CPR and first aid or taking a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) course

A good source for disaster preparedness is www.ready.gov  (click on any of the menu headings or “Publications” for detailed info.  Also check  www.redcross.org/prepare.  Information on these subjects and more can be found outside the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall and at the Wolcott Senior Center and soon at the Wolcott Library courtesy of your LEPC.

These articles are a public service of the Wolcott Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC) and are intended for informational purposes only.   The LEPC assumes no liability for the use or distribution of this information or any actions taken due to it.