Cape Gazette
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The first arctic blast in a long time bears down on Cape Region

Jan 02, 2014

The National Weather Service is predicting two to four inches of snow for the Cape Region into Friday, Jan. 3, with extremely cold temperatures extending into Saturday, Jan. 4. Temperatures could sink to anywhere from 0 to 10 degrees with winds that could push the wind chill to the minus 20-30-degree range. Since the area has not seen such low temperatures in several years, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency would like to provide a few helpful tips on surviving the cold weather.

Acting DEMA spokesman Kevin L. Wilson said taking a few precautions can prepare a family or business to survive the cold weather with few if any problems. One major item that households and businesses are encouraged to have is a winter storm emergency plan in place for sitting out a storm or for evacuating to safe shelter if necessary.

He said awareness of potential disruptive storms is key to being prepared to take appropriate action. Some very basic parts of the plan are having phone numbers of utility companies in one place and making sure everyone in the family knows where these numbers are. Get as much information and the items needed in one place so no one will have to look for them in a time of need. Just remember failing to plan is planning to fail. The great part about a family plan is  it can be fun for everyone in the home. Get the kids involved, get the grandparents involved, and others who may be living in the home.

DEMA has materials available to help individuals and businesses in their preparations and actions. The Community Outreach - Operation Preparedness booklet, Family Emergency Preparedness, and a brochure, What Should You Do if a Coastal Storm Threatens Your Community? both contain instructions and suggestions for preparing for many types of disruptive events.

The booklet and the brochure are available on the DEMA website, www.dema.delaware.gov.

The following tips are examples of ways to prevent injury and possible death from the effects of storms, and winter weather in general:

• Dress appropriately with head and hands covered if you go outdoors in temperatures below freezing. Provide shelter for pets or farm animals.

• Have a household emergency supply kit, including a supply of drinking water and nonperishable foods.  Bottled water or water in containers should be stored in case water and other utilities be disrupted.

• Ensure that flashlights and a battery-powered radio are in good working order. Have plenty of batteries. Use of candles and other open-flame light sources is not recommended.

• Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts a strain on the heart, even without exercise. Many winter deaths occur from overexertion while shoveling heavy snow or pushing cars stuck in snow.

• Check on neighbors and relatives during cold waves and winter storms. The elderly are especially susceptible to hypothermia and falls on icy surfaces.

• If power or other utilities are lost, do not call 9-1-1. Use a customer service number for information.

• As temperatures remain below freezing, take precautions to keep pipes from freezing. Contact a plumber or hardware dealer for recommendations on the best measures to protect or thaw pipes.

• In snowy weather, those who have to drive should use the utmost caution and, if possible, delay driving until roads have been cleared. Those who have to drive should give themselves plenty of time to reach their destinations and be aware of emergency vehicles and highway equipment on the roads.

The public should monitor weather conditions and recommendations on local broadcast media and monitor the DEMA Facebook page for any updated information at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/DelawareEmergencyManagementAgency.

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