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Friday
Jan032014

Tips for Staying Safe During a Winter Storm

vschlichting/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The first big snow day of this winter has arrived in the Northeast, bringing with it freezing temperatures and as much as 14 inches of fresh powder.

If you’re in an area being walloped by the winter weather, hopefully you’re hunkered down somewhere warm with a hot beverage by your side.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these emergency preparedness tips for staying safe during a winter storm:

  • Relax, take it easy.  Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you must trek through the snow or do chores, dress warmly and work slowly.
  • Be extra vigilant with the sources of heat in your home. Fireplaces, wood stoves and other combustion heaters should only be used if they have proper outside ventilation and there aren’t any leaks. Make sure space heaters are at least 3 feet away from anything that could catch fire, such as drapes or bedding.
  • If there’s a power outage, use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns.  If you must use candles, do not leave them unattended.
  • Conserve heat inside your home by opening windows and doors only if necessary.
  • Check on elderly relatives and neighbors to make sure they have enough food, heat and supplies to wait out the storm.
  • Try to prevent your pipes from freezing or rupturing by leaving all taps slightly open so they drip continuously.  If your pipes do freeze, thaw them slowly with the warm air from an electric hair dryer.
  • Avoid travel, but if you must, let someone know your destination and when you expect to arrive.  Make sure you’re dressed warmly and your vehicle is stocked with a winter weather survival kit, including water, matches, a flashlight, chains and emergency flares. Carry extra warm winter gear such as a sleeping bag and blankets in case your car breaks down and you lose heat.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio