Snow, sleet, ice, or a mixture of each could be on the way to Vermont over the next few days according to the National Weather Service. These conditions could present a number of hazards to Vermonters and our visitors, and the public is encouraged to stay in touch and stay safe.
There is a potential for slippery travel conditions, downed trees and power lines and other issues depending on how the storm develops, so we all need to be ready for any possible scenario. Below are some reminders on what to watch out for and how to prepare for adverse winter conditions.
Check in with your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or may be in need of assistance.
Ensure your home has a sufficient supply of whatever you use as fuel to heat your home.
Have extra items on hand in case you cant leave your house for a while.
o Battery powered radio
o Non-perishable foods
Ask your town where the nearest warming shelter would be should it be needed. Vermont 2-1-1 has a list of shelters when there are shelters open.
Be careful on slippery walkways make sure you have good footing or just stay off them.
If you lose power, keep your fridge and freezer closed to keep food cold and safe. A closed fridge will keep food for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours, a half-full freezer for about 24 hours.
Don't cook and eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs or other refrigerated foods that have been above 40 degrees F for two hours or more. They can be contaminated with bacteria that can cause serious illness.
If you see a downed power line, leave it alone always treat power lines as if they are live. A live wire can kill you.
If clearing trees or limbs make CERTAIN they are not in contact with a power line. Trees and branches can conduct electricity and electrocute you on contact.
Report outages to your power company.
Never run a generator indoors. Ensure it is outside far away from windows or any other area from which exhaust can vent back into a living area. Carbon monoxide can cause injury or death.
Make sure your pipes are insulated. If your pipes freeze know where the water shut off is and never use a blow torch or other open flame to thaw the pipes out. A blow dryer is one safe way to take care of the problem.
Have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home!
Never use an improvised heat source like grill or oven as they can be fire or carbon monoxide hazards.
Make sure all heating vents are clear and properly discharging out of the house.
o Make sure snow and ice is not impeding the venting of carbon monoxide and clear it away if it is.
Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from any heat source.
Check out a weather report before heading out.
Drive at appropriate speeds for conditions.
Make sure your car is in good working condition with weather appropriate tires and plenty of gas.
Throw a blanket, flashlight, cell phone, sand (or anything that can help you get traction if you get stuck), jumper cables, and other items in the car you may need if you slide off the road and have to hunker down.
The Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is in contact with local, state, and private industry partners to plan for a possible response should one become necessary. There is no plan for a state Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activation at this time, but state EOC personnel have been asked to be on alert.
National Weather Service Albany (Forecast office for Bennington and Windham counties): http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/aly/
National Weather Service Burlington (Rest of Vermont): http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/btv/
Vermont power outages: www.vtoutages.com
Vermont Division of Fire Safety: http://firesafety.vermont.gov/
DEMHS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vermontemergencymanagement
DEMHS on Twitter: @vemvt https://twitter.com/vemvt
Road conditions: www.511vt.com
For more information media can call DEMHS Public Information Officer Mark Bosma at 800-347-0488.