SPRINGFIELD, Mo – The Ozarks region is no stranger to winter weather events. With the severity of the winter weather warnings last weekend, and the expected wet conditions and low temperatures forecasted for this weekend, the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management encourages the Ozarks community to take action now and prepare for the upcoming winter weather events.
“In anticipation of the winter weather this weekend, the best thing the public can do now is to properly prepare ahead of time and to remain informed and aware of the forecasted weather conditions,” said Larry Woods, director of the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management. “Preparing a winter storm emergency plan with family members, assembling winter emergency supply kits for your home and vehicles and staying abreast of local weather reports is strongly recommended.”
To begin preparing at home, for travel and for the outdoors during winter weather, follow these preparedness tips:
· Develop an emergency communications plan and make sure all family members know how to respond after winter weather passes.
· Keep a fully-stocked emergency kit in an easily accessible place in case the winter weather causes a power outage. An emergency kit should include a flashlight, NOAA Weather Radio and AM/FM radio, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food items, one-week supply of essential prescription medications, extra blankets and cash.
· Bring pets indoors if possible, and provide a warm and dry place of shelter from the cold.
Vehicle and Travel Preparedness:
· Travel during daylight and let someone know your destination and route.
· Keep your car’s gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel lines from freezing
· Keep a fully-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle, which should include a blanket, first aid kit, extra sets of dry winter clothing, an ice scraper, non-perishable food items and water bottles, a flashlight with extra batteries, chains or rope, a container of sand and jumper cables.
· Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged before your begin your trip. If you are stranded in your car during a blizzard, make a call and wait for help to arrive.
· Dress warmly by wearing loose-fitting, layered, light-weight clothing. Garments should include hats, gloves, water proof shoes and multiple layers
· Recognize the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia. If frostbite or hypothermia are suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance.
· Cover your mouth. Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by covering your mouth.
· Drink water to prevent possible dehydration if outdoors for an extended period of time
“Keeping these preparedness and safety tips in mind will help to best prepare families across the Ozarks for impending severe winter weather; the more that families are prepared the better we can work together to be the most disaster resilient community possible,” says Woods. “
To learn more about what you and your family can do to prepare for winter weather visit https://greenecountymo.gov/oem/preparedness/winter or https://www.weather.gov/safety/winter.