WINTER HAZARD AWARENESS WEEK 2015
The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management is announcing their participation in Minnesota’s Winter Hazard Awareness Week 2015, a public safety campaign promoted by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, local emergency management agencies, and the National Weather Service. Winter Hazard Awareness Week is November 9th-13th, 2015 and each day of the week has a winter hazard topic.
Monday’s topic is Winter Storms. We experience a wide variety of winter weather in the northland each winter season from heavy snowfall, blizzards and extreme cold conditions. The National Weather Service provides forecasts and is responsible for issuing winter weather warnings. Winter weather advisories and winter storm watches and warnings provide advance notice of weather that could impact travel and public safety. Forecasts and warning information can be found at http://www.weather.gov/fgf for the Grand Forks office or http://www.weather.gov/dlh for the Duluth office.
Tuesday’s topic is Outdoor Winter Safety. A danger during the entire winter season is thin ice. Never go on area lakes and rivers without first checking with locals or bait shops with ice thickness and quality. Early and late in the winter season many vehicles fall through the ice, endangering the occupants and making for difficult extraction and rescue. At least four inches of new clear ice is recommended for walking on ice and a foot of ice for small vehicles. If you are out enjoying winter weather, make sure you have appropriate clothing to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Snow shoveling can be a daunting task, lift with your legs and not your back. Assist those with access and functional needs, pre-plan before a winter storm makes travel difficult.
Wednesday’s topic is Winter Fire Safety. There is an increase in home fires as we approach the winter season. Factors included in the increase are home heating practices as well as holiday traditions such as candles and decorations. Make sure your furnace is functioning properly and chimneys are clean and clear. Never use alternative heat sources such as a stove or cooking grill. Don’t overload your electrical outlets with excessive holiday lights and keep combustible materials away from ignition sources.
Thursday’s topic is Indoor Winter Safety. Sometimes our homes which are designed to keep us safe put us in danger. Make sure to have your heating sources checked annually and performing properly. Carbon Monoxide poisoning claims lives every year and is the result of improper burning of fuels in heating sources or motors. Make sure to have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home. Mold, radon and chemical exposures also increase in the winter as we seal up our homes to keep the cold out and the warmth in.
Friday’s topic is Winter Driving. We prepare ourselves for winter, you should prepare your car as well. Make sure to have preventative service done on your vehicle to ensure it is reliable during winter weather. Travel with a winter survival kit in your vehicle and call your destination before and let someone know your travel itinerary and route. Travel with a cell phone and charger so you can call for help and know your location. Listen to travel advisories and delay your travel if appropriate. Snowplows are huge and there were 72 accidents involving plows last season. Snowplows weigh about 15 times more than a car. Keep an eye out on the highways for different types of plows. Plows can be equipped with wing blades, under body blades, front blades and even a tow plow. A tow plow is a plow towed behind the main truck and has a 26 foot blade to clear multiple lanes of traffic in one pass.
Please stay safe this winter season and visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/beltramicountyemergencymanagement for additional information posted each day during Winter Hazard Awareness Week 2015 and see examples of a Winter Survival Kit.