How to Stay Safe in Winter Weather

More rain and snow predicted for Georgia
More rain and snow predicted for Georgia

February is ending with a cold front, and although we’ve already had snow and ice there’s a strong chance more is on the way.
We’ve all experienced some type of winter weather before, but because we don’t get it as often as Chicago or Boston, we tend to forget how to handle it. Here are some tips on how to stay safe during the bad weather.

Driving Tips

  • Drive slowly! When the roads are covered in snow, or even just wet, everything – stopping, turning and accelerating – takes longer than it does when the pavement is dry.
  • Try not to stop. If you can take your foot off the gas and keep rolling until a traffic light changes for instance, that’s better than stopping and trying to start moving again.
  • Don’t follow too closely. In normal dry conditions your following distance should be 3 to 4 seconds, in snowy or ice conditions it should be 8 to 10 seconds. This helps give you more time to stop if you need to when the roads are slippery.
  • Stay home if you can. If you don’t have to venture out, just stay home and stay safe. Enjoying the weather from your window is much safer and more enjoyable.
  • See http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/ for more tips.

Health and Safety
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) has tons of tips on their site about how to keep your body safe in case of inclement weather (http://ready.ga.gov/Stay-Informed/Winter-Advisories-and-Ice-Storms).

  • Frostbite can happen in minutes. Warning signs include numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, and skin that feels waxy or firm. Seek medical help immediately if frostbite is suspected. If that’s not possible, get the victim to a warm location and immerse the affected skim in warm water. Avoid using heating pads, fireplaces or radiators for warmth as the skin can burn. Also, never rub the skin as this could cause additional damage.
  • Signs of hypothermia include shivering, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness, and fumbling hands. If the victim’s temperature is below 95 degrees, get medical attention right away. If that is not possible, again get the victim to a warm location, remove their wet clothes, and warm the center of their body with an electric blanket and if they are conscious give them warm (non-alcoholic) drinks such as tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

Household Safety

The GEMA also reminds residents what to do in case they lose power during a winter storm:

  • Always use flashlights instead of candles to prevent fires. But make sure you have plenty of batteries on backup!
  • If you lose your heat during a power outage, turn to a fireplace or space heater to keep warm. Never heat the inside of your home with your oven, camp stove or grill. These are all fire hazards and could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you follow all these tips, and others found at http://ready.ga.gov/Stay-Informed/Winter-Advisories-and-Ice-Storms you’ll be ready to tackle anything that mother nature sends our way!

Stay safe and warm!

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