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During The Storm: Emergency Readiness

February 8, 2013 2:17 AM

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(Photo Credit: Rick Macomber)

(Photo Credit: Rick Macomber)

(Photo Credit: Rick Macomber)

(Photo Credit: Rick Macomber)

Tips To Stay Safe DURING the Storm

• Closely monitor WBZ NewsRadio 1030WBZ-TV or NOAA Weather Radio for storm updates and emergency information

Related: How To Prepare Ahead Of A Winter Storm

• Keep any exterior vents on your house cleared of snow. That includes furnace, boiler, heating system and dryer vents. Clogged vents could cause a carbon monoxide backup into your house.

• Any running generators should be kept outside and should be properly vented. Generators also give off carbon monoxide.

Read: MEMA’s Winter Weather Tips

• Clear the snow from around any nearby fire hydrants as soon as it is safe to do so.

• Be aware of local parking bans.

(Photo by Rick Macomber)

(Photo by Rick Macomber)

• Avoid driving. About 70% of winter deaths related to snow and ice occur in automobiles.

• Dress for the season, wearing several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
• Mittens are better than gloves.
• Wear a hat; most body heat is lost through the top of the head.
• Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

If You’re Outside:

• Be careful when shoveling snow. Over-exertion can bring on a heart attack – a major cause of death in the winter.

• Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in the extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.

• Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove any wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages, if the victim is conscious. Get medical help, as soon as possible.

THE TECH CHECKLIST

Phone, Blackberry

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

• Conserving Phone Power: If it seems power will be out for a while, there are some tips to avoid draining your device of its battery. Try turning down your screen’s brightness—this is one of the big users of battery power on a phone or computer. If the internet has gone out, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Check your device’s Settings or Preferences menu to find these options. Also be sure to close any apps or programs you aren’t using.

• Communicating During Storms: The high winds of a blizzard increase the chance of power, phone, and/or the internet going out. While cell phones are an obvious way to keep in touch, it’s not uncommon for service to become spotty in an emergency. Cell phone towers provide coverage for several miles—there could be thousands, if not tens of thousands of people using it at any one time. This overload could make it tough to make and receive calls during major outages. If “all lines are busy,” try sending a text message or using Skype. These services have a tendency to make it through just fine when everyone else is trying to place a call.

• Avoid Internet Withdrawal: Sometimes being unplugged from the outside world can give you a chance to recharge. But, if internet withdrawal is a serious concern or your work depends on getting online, there are ways around an internet outage. As long as you have a strong and consistent cellular signal, you can use your smartphone or tablet to get your computer online. Many of these devices have a Mobile Hotspot. A Mobile Hotspot uses your phone signal to create a Wi-Fi signal that your computer can use. In most cases, this will work the same way your regular high speed internet service does — albeit a tad slower. The Mobile Hotspot feature – also known as “tethering” in tech-speak – may be included in your plan or could require an extra charge, so check with your wireless provider about what’s available for you and at what potential cost.

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