FULTON – Dale A. Currier, director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, advises residents to begin preparing for the upcoming winter season during National Preparedness Month in September.
“It’s never too early to think safety. The calendar may say winter begins on December 21, but snow emergencies can take place in October. That’s why it makes sense to prepare for it now,” Currier said. “I urge residents to prepare their families and their property for the winter months ahead by taking some simple, common-sense steps today.”
The first step residents can take is to be aware of local weather conditions by listening to broadcasts of NOAA Weather Radio, the National Weather Service, and local television and radio stations, or by following news and weather Web sites and smart phone apps.
“Before going out on the road, residents should be sure of what the weather conditions may be like,” Currier said. “They can change quickly, especially during lake effect snow storms.”
Noting that safety begins at home, Currier urged residents to give their homes a safety check.
“Have a professional check out your furnace, woodstove and chimney. Make certain they are in good working condition. And don’t forget to replace the batteries in your smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors,” he said. “To save yourself a little exertion, it’s also a good idea to make certain your snow blower is ready to go to work.”
Residents can make sure now that their vehicles are ready for the season as well.
“Have a mechanic check your battery, anti-freeze, wipers and thermostat,” Currier said. “Make sure your tires will deliver the traction you’ll need in the snow. And make sure you have emergency supplies aboard such as a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries and booster cables.”
“Most importantly, motorists should drive with extreme care during the winter,” Currier stressed. “When severe weather is forecast, stay at home unless you absolutely have to drive. If you must go out, plan your stops, clean the vehicle completely of snow and ice, and always match your speed to road conditions.”
A primary concern during the winter months is the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service and a resulting shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day.
“Make sure your family disaster supplies kit is up-to-date,” Currier said.
For the winter months, residents who depend on heating fuel should have emergency heating equipment and fuel available in case fuel carriers cannot reach them for days after a severe winter storm.
“Consider a generator, but make sure you follow proper installation and maintenance procedures,” Currier said. “Always operate a generator outdoors. Before operating a generator, disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. With some planning now, Oswego County residents can be sure the upcoming winter is a safe and enjoyable one,” Currier said.
More information on planning for emergencies is available from the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, (315) 591-9150, and on the Oswego County website at www.oswegocounty.com/emo or at www.ready.gov.