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Whether you’re new to North Dakota or have lived here all your life, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prepare for winter weather. Now is the time to prepare your home, vehicles, yourself and family members for winter.
Prepare your home. Ensure your furnace is maintained and serviced to keep you warm this winter and to help minimize the risk of frozen water pipes. While preparing for winter, consider the potential for a power outage. Alternate heat sources can be dangerous or even life threatening if not used properly. Be sure to read safety guidelines when using alternate heat sources like generators. A carbon monoxide detector is a safety “must” if your home burns fuel for any purpose, even if limited to a hot water heater.
Prepare your vehicle. Carry a winter survival kit in your vehicle. Include extra clothing, a blanket, and high energy food like candy bars, peanuts, and raisins. Have a flashlight with fresh batteries, paper towels, sand, and a shovel. Keep the gas tank and windshield washer fluid full. Take necessary medications with you when traveling in winter. Be sure the vehicle windows, headlights and taillights are clear of snow, ice, and frost before taking off.
Travel Safely. Don’t crowd the plow – and don’t use cruise control on slippery roads. Before you set out on a trip let someone know the time you leave, the route you will take, and the time you plan to arrive. Check the latest forecast and road report before travelling and take a cell phone. If you get stuck while traveling, keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow but do not overexert yourself by trying to push or shovel the vehicle out of deep snow. Stay inside the vehicle. Do not try to walk away from the vehicle unless you can see a place of safety at a close distance.
Prepare yourself and family. Dress in layers of loose-fitting clothes when going outdoors. Wear a hat, gloves or mittens, and a scarf. Have as little skin as possible exposed to the elements in order to avoid frostbite.
“It is important to prepare your family for winters in North Dakota by making sure all of your supplies and plans are in place before experiencing severe winter weather,” said Bismarck Emergency Manager Gary Stockert. You can learn more about severe weather and emergency preparedness by visiting www.bismarcknd.gov/emergencymanagement, view Winter Weather.