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Winter Emergency Preparedness

Planning & Safety

America's PrepareAthon! Winter Storm Safety (FEMA flyer)

WINTER PREPAREDNESS TIPS:  Our winter weather tends to be reliably unpredictable. We urge you to always prepare for the unexpected, including heavy amounts of snow, single-digit or sub-zero (polar vortex event) temperatures, or flooding caused by thawing with rapid snow-melt or by rain storms. Trees loosened or weakened by weather events are also a hazard to anticipate and prepare for.

In case you get snowed in, your pipes freeze, or your power goes out, have enough food, water, and any needed medications to get by for at least a week. That means one gallon of water per person per day, and ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods. (Food in the fridge stays good for approx. four hours without power.)

Also have flashlights, a NOAA weather radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, food and water for pets, and if possible, a portable generator. A portable sump pump or wet/dry vacuum is also useful in case of home flooding.

And since your family may not all be together when a weather event or other emergency occurs, also have a communications plan, including an out-of-area contact you can each check in with if local phone service is lost.

Basic winter reminders: Keep your residences as accessible as possible. If we can’t reach you during a fire or medical situation, we may not be able to help you at all. Fire district response time can be complicated by snow/ ice on roads and at residences. Provide strategic turnouts so two vehicles can pass, and turn-around space at your residence.

For more Winter Fire Safety information, read our full 2015-16 Winter Fire Safety Pamphlet sent out to our residents in Dec. 2015. (Note: This document is formatted for printing as a half-page-size pamphlet.) If you are new to our district and did not receive your copy and would like one, please email us with your name and mailing address and we will send a copy out to you.

For additional wet-season fire safety and preparedness information, see our WINTER FIRE SAFETY and page.

REMINDER:  During especially cold weather, make sure you keep your pets inside ("If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for them").

 

ALERT:  Many trees weakened by drought stress over the past two years may be vulnerable to toppling unexpectedly due to saturated soils, winds, and/or heavy snow loads.

If you are aware of leaning or weakened trees near your residence or driveway that may be a safety hazard, have a professional deal with them properly. (If you aren't able to locate someone, call us and we will try to assist you to find someone qualified.)

If you see a problem near or over a public roadway, please report it to local authorities (or provide us with the necessary information and we will forward it to the proper authorities).**

 

WINTER WEATHER TRAVEL PREPAREDNESS:  The Jackson County Sheriff's Office has some advice for staying safe on the roads:

Stock your vehicle with winter survival gear: water, food/snacks, portable cell phone/device charger, blankets, warm clothes, gloves, boots, flashlight and extra batteries, radio and extra batteries, a basic tool kit, tire chains, road salt and sand or kitty litter, a shovel and ice scraper, jumper cables, tarp, first aid kit, sanitation supplies, and any necessary medications.

Have your vehicle serviced before winter travel; during winter, keep the gas tank full.

During winter weather and road conditions, stay home unless a trip out is necessary.

If you must travel in winter weather, check ODOT (or CalTrans) for current road conditions before travel and pay attention to weather updates, and tell someone of your travel plans. Avoid roads, mountain passes and back-country roads that are notoriously dangerous in winter. Start out with a full gas tank and a fully charged cell phone, but don't rely on cell phones to always have service.

If you are stranded in a storm, stay in your vehicle, and never run your engine for heat with the windows up, since carbon monoxide poisoning has no smell and can be lethal.

Check ODOT [Oregon] or CalTrans [Calif.] for road conditions before you begin traveling.

Full weather information and updates are available from the Medford WFO.

View hazard areas in detail at: HTTP://WEATHER.GOV/MEDFORD/HAZARD.




FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) reminds us that "one of the most serious threats to your home is frozen water pipes." FEMA recommends these "FOAM, DOME and DRIP" tips from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH). (Scroll down to "Six Affordable Home Insulation Tips for Winter Weather" on 11/14/14.)

Also, check out The Weather Channel's video discussion on (How to) Keep Your Pipes From Freezing (2:58 min).

More basic information is also available from the City of Ashland's "Put a Freeze on Frozen Pipes."

 


Based on the types of problems and incidents the District experienced during previous winters, we sent out an earlier brochure to our district members covering many key points of Winter Emergency Preparedness and Home Safety Reminders.

You can view it here (in PDF format):

2008-09 Winter Emergency Preparedness Planning and Safety Reminders

We have just a few copies of the brochure left. If you are a district resident but did not receive your copy, you are welcome to email us with your name and snail mail address and we will send you one (subject to current availability).

Printing Notes: This small brochure is formatted for printing in "landscape" layout and on two sides of 8-and-1/2 by 11-inch paper, for a total of two double-sided pages that can then be folded at the centers. The material on Road Preparation (pages 2 and 3) and General Home Safety Reminders (pages 7 and 8) should go together when reading. Pages 4 and 5, with the Emergency Preparedness Checklist, should be placed in the center.

To print for this result, on the first sheet of paper, make sure that Page 2 (where Preparedness on the Road begins) prints on the reverse of Page 1 (with the cover graphic); Page 7 (the rest of General Home Safety Reminders) will then be on the reverse of Page 8 (the mail address page). On the second sheet, Page 3 (the rest of Preparedness on the Road, starting with "Before Winter travel...") will need to be on the reverse of Page 4 (the beginning of the Checklist), while Page 6 (the beginning of General Winter Home Safety Reminders) prints on the reverse of Page 5 (the rest of the Checklist).

Quick Links to References mentioned in this brochure:

For current road conditions: www.wrh.noaa.gov/mfr/roads/index.php.

Cell phone and PDA users can also go to: www.TripCheck.com/mobile.

For more Winter Emergency Preparedness Information, see the American Red Cross website, at: www.redcross.org/services/disaster. In particular, review the sections under Disaster Services on Disaster Safety, Prepare for Disasters, Winter Storm, Prepare at Home, and Emergency Preparedness Kits, where you can plan your own customized emergency kit.

For more info on Stoves and Flue Fires, see the National Fire Protection Association's website at: www.nfpa.org.

 

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