WINTER HAZARD AWARENESS WEEK 2016
It won't be long until the winds change and cooler temperatures sweep across the state and even the heartiest of Minnesotans will feel the effects of winter in the northland. Beltrami County Emergency Management would like to take the opportunity to remind our citizens that preparing today can mitigate winter hazards over the coming months. Minnesota's annual Winter Hazard Awareness Week is November 14th-18th, 2016. Once again, each day of the week will have a daily topic address hazards we face over the winter. We encourage all of our neighbors to review the daily topics and take actions
Monday's topic is Winter Storms. Every winter a number of different types of watches and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service to provide the public with information to plan their travels and activities. Extreme bitter cold temperatures, heavy snowfall and limited visibilities are all some of the weather extremes we see during the winter months. Understand what these watches and warnings mean. Watches mean conditions are favorable for severe winter weather or heavy snowfall and warnings mean it is imminent, occurring or likely to occur. Don't dismiss advisories as they can be associated with significant winter weather that don't meet warning criteria.
Tuesday's topic is Outdoor Winter Safety. With a number of popular fishing lakes in Beltrami County, fishermen are anxious to get out on the ice. Don't head out too early in the season and make sure there is an adequate amount of clear fresh ice before venturing out on area lakes. A minimum of four inches of ice recommended for walking and a foot of ice for small vehicles. If you are venturing outdoors, make sure you are dressed appropriately for the conditions to avoid hypothermia, frostbite and other cold related injuries. During heavy snow events, 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. Most home fires are preventable; heading into the winter season you can take precautionary measures to reduce your vulnerability to fires. Have your heating system checked by professionals. If you heat your home with wood, make sure chimneys are clear of debris and well maintained. Never use alternative heating sources such as gas grills or a stove as these pose a significant fire hazard as well as gas poisoning. If you deck the halls with strings of lights or candles, do so safely by not overloading outlets and keeping combustibles away from flames.
Thursday's topic is Indoor Winter Safety. With improvements in home construction and our efforts to keep the warmth in and cold out, we also reduce air exchange increasing the likelihood of gas, mold, radon and other chemical exposures. Make sure all appliances are checked for efficiency and to ensure they are operating safely. Make sure to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home on every floor.
Friday's topic is Winter Driving. Vehicles are given little thought when it comes to winter, given they start when it is thirty below zero. Your vehicle also requires maintenance to make it through the winter. Simple things like making sure your belts and hoses are in good condition as well as your battery. Tires play a big role in winter driving, make sure you have appropriate tires for the winter driving conditions. If traveling in inclement weather, call your destination before and let someone know your travel itinerary and route. Listen to travel advisories and delay your travel if appropriate. Snowplows are huge and there were 72 accidents involving plows in 2015. Snowplows weigh about 15 times more than a car.