MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES–Now that we’ve had a taste of rain and cooler weather we know that winter is on the way. For our communities this can mean flooded roads, power outages, downed trees, and other emergencies. Continue reading the rest of this article for tips on ways to keep you and your family safe this winter. As always, Sierra News Online will be here reporting on any incidents and emergencies.
Winter Safety At Home
- Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking and weather stripping.
- Learn how to keep pipes from freezing.
- Know how to properly use portable generators.
Using a generator indoors will kill you in minutes. Exhaust contains a poison gas you cannot see or smell. Never use a generator indoors, in garages or carports. Only use generators outdoors, away from open windows, doors and vents.
- Clean out your homes rain gutters.
- Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
- Have a plan and gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power.
- Heat your home safely with these tips from this article we published last winter.
Power Outage Safety Tips
· Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
· Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
· Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.
· Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
Check here for more power outage safety tips from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)
Winter Safety On The Road
- Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medications, and more.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
- Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.
- Turn around don’t drown, don’t drive through flood waters.
Driving In Winter Conditions
- Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination.
- Make your vehicle visible to others both ahead of you and behind you by using your low-beam headlights since this means your taillights will also be on. Use fog lights if you have them.
- Never use your high-beam lights. Using high beam lights causes glare, making it more difficult for you to see what’s ahead of you on the road.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
- Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Resist the urge to hit the brakes. While it’s natural to want to brake when you begin to feel your vehicle swerve, braking will actually make you lose control and skid. Instead of braking, ease up on the gas and calmly tap the brakes to slow down.
- Keep the steering wheel straight. To avoid swerving off the road or into oncoming traffic, firmly hold your steering wheel straight. When you start to drift one way or the other, make sure you don’t drastically over correct on your steering wheel.
- Slow down by decelerating or shift to lower gear. Slowly let go of the gas pedal to slow down. Shifting to a lower gear provides your vehicle with more control.
- Head for areas of traction. Look for areas with gravel, sand, or white snow. These areas provide your tires with some much-needed traction to gain control of your vehicle.
- Stay calm.