Time to prepare for winter

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017

With winter officially in effect and a cold snap in Clark County and the region this week, it’s time to get ready for potential winter storms and other hazards.

Clark County Emergency Management Director Gary Epperson said the current cold snap may just be the first.

“The worst of the winter is yet to come,” he said.

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Winter storms can pose threats on multiple fronts, including power outages at home or impassable conditions while traveling.

“If you go out, you need supplies and blankets (in the vehicle) in case you get stranded,” he said. Every residence should have a supply of three days worth of food and water, in case of a days-long power outage, he said.

Homeowners should also have additional emergency heat sources, including blankets, on hand. Cars should each have an emergency kit, including jumper cables, sand for added traction, a portable cell phone charger and an ice scraper.

Epperson also warned about overexertion while outside, particularly while shoveling snow. Snow should be pushed, rather than lifted when possible. Take frequent breaks and life lighter loads.

For more information about winter weather preparedness, go to www.clarkema.com

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment issues is the second leading cause for home fires and home fire deaths between 2009-13. Of those, space heaters were the leading cause, most often by being too close to flammable items including furniture, mattresses, clothes or bedding.

Half of all home heating fires occur between December and February, according to the NFPA. The organization offers the following suggestions to prevent home heating fires:

— Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from any heat sources, including wood stoves, space heaters and radiators.

— Keep portable generators outside the residence. Test for carbon monoxide once a month.

— Clean the chimney annually.

— Plug only one heat-producing appliance per electrical outlet at a time.

Freezing water pipes is another common problem in winter. Pipes exposed to severe cold, run through unheated areas are are poorly insulated, can burst when water freezes and expands within a pipe.

The American Red Cross recommends disconnecting exterior hoses and insulating faucets. When weather dips to extreme cold, the Red Cross suggests leaving a trickle of water running from a faucet can prevent water from freezing as well.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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