Can’t stay indoors? How to drive safely in a blizzard


Whether or not the winter weather hits you hard over the weekend, emergency officials said you should still be prepared.

“We’re definitely going to have some type of serious snow storm,” said Gov. Larry Hogan (D-Md.). “It’s a matter of magnitude exactly where the path goes, but it is going to be significant, and we’re going to be ready.”

For four-state residents, that means putting together an emergency kit, which should have the basics like water, food and a blanket to stay warm, as well as a flashlight, a multi-purpose tool and a book or some board games to help fight boredom.

“You want non-perishable food. You want to make sure you can eat it cold because you might not have electricity this weekend,” said Brandon Vallee, the public information officer for Jefferson County Homeland Security.

“Stay away from candles, and the reason why is because they are a fire hazard.”

If you’re forced to evacuate your home, officials also recommend getting your important documents together, like insurance cards, medical prescriptions and copies of your driver’s license.

If you know you are going to have to drive this weekend, officials recommend staying close to your final destination.

They also recommend packing a few items in the trunk of your car, including a shovel and some rock salt (in case you have to dig yourself out) food, water and a warm blanket.

“Make sure your phones are completely charged,” Vallee said. “In addition, make sure you leave with plenty of time to drive, and drive slowly.”

Because you might lose a minute of your life if you take your time driving, but drive fast, and you could lose your life in a minute.

The following emergency preparedness kit information is provided courtesy of the Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management:

If you do not have an emergency preparedness kit, here is a list of basic items and seasonal items which should be included in your family’s kit:

·     WATER – Ensure you have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days. (Store a longer than 3-day supply of water, if possible). An average person needs to drink about 3/4 of a gallon of fluid daily. Individual needs vary depending on age, gender, health, level of activity, food choices, and climate. You may also need stored water for food preparation.

·     FOOD – Store at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food for members of your household, including pets. Consider special dietary needs (e.g., infant formula). Include a non-electric can opener for canned food

·     FLASHLIGHT, RADIO, and CELL PHONE CHARGER – You will need to be able to charge these items without electricity. Your flashlight and radio should be either hand-cranked or battery-powered, and stored with extra batteries. Your cell phone charger should be hand-crank, solar, or able to be charged from a car outlet.

·     MEDICAL – Include first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription/over-the-counter medications, and medical supplies.

·     SANITATION – Pack supplies for sanitation, such as hand sanitizer, towelettes, paper products, diapers, and plastic bags, for use when water resources are limited.

·     ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY – Include battery backup power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen, and other assistive technology needs.

·     EXTRA CLOTHING, BLANKETS, and SLEEPING BAGS – Dress in layers to keep warm if you lose power. Ensure you have enough clothing, hats, mittens, and blankets or sleeping bags for everyone in the house.

·     ITEMS FOR SNOW AND ICE – Stock up on rock salt to melt ice on walkways or sand or kitty litter to improve traction and snow shovels or other snow removal equipment.

·     WOOD – Store a supply of dry, seasoned wood if you have a working fireplace or wood-burning stove with a safe flue or vent.

Please note that this is a basic list of supplies that should be in your emergency preparedness kit.  Your kit should reflect your family’s specific needs (such as access and functional needs, pets, or infants).  For a more suggestions on what to include in your emergency preparedness kit, please check out:

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