This week is “Winter Prepardness Week” (Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2014)

With the winter season approaching, planning for the unpredictable weather of Virginia should be a priority. The severity of previous winters has caught many off guard due to lack of preparedness. Let’s not have that happen this year and instead be ready for anything the weather may throw our way.

Here are some steps and tips that Virginians should consider while planning for the upcoming winter:

Prepare an emergency kit:

  • 3 days of food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or electricity to be prepared
  • 3 days of water which is equivalent to 1 gallon per person per day
  • A hand-crank or battery powered radio with extra batteries
  • A first aid kit with a supply of needed prescription medications
  • Blankets, warm clothing, pet items and supplies for special members of your household.
  • A power pack to recharge mobile devices
  • For businesses and offices, bottles of water, food bars, and a radio to keep informed on whether it is safe to travel.

Make an emergency plan:

  • Choose out-of-town emergency contacts
  • Pick a location to meet with family members if you are unable to return home.
  • Get an emergency plan worksheet through the new Ready Virginia app or at www.ReadyVirginia.gov

Stay informed:

  • Listen to local media for information and instructions from emergency officials.
  • Pay attention to winter storm watches and warnings and road conditions.
  • Get road condition updates 24/7 by calling 511 or visiting http://www.511Virginia.org
  • Get to your destination before the weather gets bad.
  • Stay updated on snow plowing efforts in your neighborhood and the main roads by visiting the interactive VDOT snow plow website, www.novasnowplowing.virginia.gov

Weather Safety Tips:

  • Space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from other objects nor left unattended.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom and level of you home. The batteries should be checked every month and replaced once a year at the same time every year.
  • Use flashlights instead of candles during a power outage.
  • Only use generators in well-ventilated areas outside of your home.
  • If your household includes someone with special needs, (has a disability that requires electricity to operate medical equipment, etc.) inform your local emergency manager of where you live and what you will need during an emergency.
  • Make sure outdoor pets have sufficient shelter, food, and unfrozen water.
  • Driving is most dangerous when the temperature is at or drops under 32°F. If the roads are wet, it is possible that patches of ice, especially on curves and bridges. Avoid cruise control during inclement weather conditions.
  • Don’t pass a snowplow unless you absolutely need to.
  • Keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle.

For more information on preparing for the winter weather please visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov

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