News Releases

March 08, 2011

Exercise Safety in Storm

Rain, sleet, freezing rain, and snow have been falling throughout Vermont on Sunday and much of that precipitation is expected to continue into Monday. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, Winter Storm Advisory, Flood Watch, or a combination of alerts in all areas of Vermont into Monday.

Ice and snow are making travel hazardous in several areas of the state and localized flooding has closed a number of roads throughout Vermont. Motorists are urged to respect all detour signs and never drive across a flooded road. Floodwaters can cause unseen washouts, or create a strong current; both of which can cause your car to be swept away. For road conditions call 511 or visit 511vt.com.

Vermont Emergency Management, the Vermont State Police, Vermont Fire Safety, and Vermont Department of Health are encouraging Vermonters to take care to remain safe and healthy during the storms.

• Residents should use caution when digging out from the storm. Excessive snow shoveling can cause a range of health problems, from back injuries to heart attack, if not done in moderation. Vermonters should not over exert themselves and should take frequent breaks from shoveling.

• Vermonters who are able to help elderly neighbors and others who need assistance in removing snow are encouraged to do so. Residents are also asked to check on the welfare of elderly neighbors and those with special needs during the storm – especially if there is a power outage in your area.

• As always, it is advisable to have an emergency preparedness kit on hand with some or all of the following items:

o Flashlights and batteries in your home and car;

o A battery-powered radio or NOAA weather radio to listen for advisories;

o Bottled water; 1 gallon per person, per day is advised;

o Non-perishable food for the home and car;

o A first aid kit.

Carbon Monoxide Risks

• It is critical as snow piles up to ensure all outside heating vents are clear of snow. A blocked vent can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home and CO poisoning. Prolonged carbon monoxide exposure can be fatal, so it is imperative that vents be cleared as a blocked vent can create the danger of CO poisoning. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to flu, but without the fever and may include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. If you suspect that you are experiencing CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department for assistance from a safe location.

• If power is lost and you run a generator, it is important that the generator is outdoors in a well ventilated area; an improperly operated generator can lead to CO poisoning; check your owner’s manual before operating a generator.

• Also ensure your generator is installed according to manufacturers’ standards; an improperly installed generator can feed back onto power lines, creating a hazard to line workers.

Travel Safety

• If while traveling you get stuck in deep snow, do NOT let your engine idle if your exhaust pipe is buried. Idling with a buried exhaust pipe also risks carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect that you are experiencing CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately.

• Other tips for the road

o Check road and weather conditions before leaving.

o Avoid traveling unless necessary and always allow yourself extra time to get to your destination.

o Make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition with snow tires and winter windshield wiper blades.

o Watch for and expect changing road conditions, black ice, blowing snow, high winds or whiteout conditions can appear when you least expect them to.

o The single most important rule is to drive at a speed that matches the prevailing visibility, traffic and road conditions. The posted speed limits are for dry, clear conditions only.

o Be sure to leave yourself plenty of extra room, extend the following distance from other vehicles ahead.

o If your car doesn't make it to your destination, pull as far off the road as possible, to minimize any further traffic hazards, and stay in the car. Even a short walk in winter storm conditions can be dangerous.

o Carry a cell phone and use 911 in case of an emergency, but do not become over dependant on a cell phone.

Any towns that may need assistance during the storm are encouraged to call Vermont Emergency Management at 800-347-0488.

For more information, the media can call Vermont Emergency Management at 800-347-0488.

Source: Vermont Emergency Management
Last Updated at: March 08, 2011 07:52:59