Friday | January 17, 2020 All News Safety Extreme winter weather can lead to closed roads and power outages. Are you prepared? History has made it evident that winter in North Dakota is extreme and can immobilize an entire region. Historic snowfall in early October to record breaking snowfall for an entire winter season. Winter storms can result in difficult travel, closed highways, and power outages. Take action now to ensure the safety and comfort of your family in the event of severe winter weather. Before a storm • Have snow removal equipment on hand, as well as rock salt to melt ice and sand to improve traction. • Regular fuel sources may be cut off, so make sure an alternative is available to heat your home. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove. • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone knows how to use them. Fires pose an additional risk when alternate heating sources are in use. • Locate your main water supply and valves; make sure you know how to shut them off in case a pipe bursts. • Repair roof leaks and keep gutters clear. Trim any tree branches that could fall during a storm. • Winterize by caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, sealing the attic area, and installing storm windows. This will help to keep your family safe and comfortable during a storm. During a storm • Listen to your radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information. • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids but avoid caffeine and alcohol. • To conserve fuel, keep your home cooler than average. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms. • Watch for signs of frostbite; these include loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers and toes. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately. • Drive only when necessary. If you must drive, travel on main roads during daylight hours. Keep others informed of your whereabouts. After a storm • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack, a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside. • Help neighbors who may require special assistance, including infants, the elderly and people with disabilities. • If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation and open all faucets; pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold. Do not try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame. • Follow forecasts and be prepared when venturing outside. Major winter storms are often followed by extremely cold conditions A little forethought and attention to detail will help to ensure that you and your family stay warm, dry, and safe this winter, no matter what the weather is outside.