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Prepare Now for Winter Weather

Tennesseans Urged to Make Plans, Stock Supplies for Ice and Snow Conditions

Tennessee Department of HealthNashville, TN – Winter weather in Tennessee can change quickly and leave residents dealing with the dangers posed by snow, ice and sub-freezing temperatures.

As part of our ongoing efforts to encourage emergency preparedness, the Tennessee Department of Health, Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency are urging Tennesseans to prepare now to stay safe and healthy during wintry weather.

“The best time to plan for an emergency is before an event occurs, so we and our families are prepared to cope with a winter storm or any other emergency that may keep us home without power or leave us on the road for hours longer,” Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, said. “Create emergency kits for your home and your vehicle with food, water and other supplies you will need, keep your gas tank half full and if you have to use a generator or emergency heat, beware of the serious danger of carbon monoxide.”

Officials say it is also a good idea to make plans for child care if schools or daycare centers are closed, and check on elderly neighbors and relatives who may need assistance and are more at risk for health problems from the cold.

“Everyone should remember emergency preparedness is an individual responsibility,” Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Bassham said. “Taking some time now to get ready for a potential emergency, whether it’s severe winter weather or other hazards, can keep you and your family safe later.”
Snow building up on a limb can cause it to break and fall on power lines, cars, etc.
Snow building up on a limb can cause it to break and fall on power lines, cars, etc.

Staying warm and safe can be a challenge during extreme winter weather. Winter storms may leave your home without power, and even working heating systems may be inadequate during extremely cold weather. Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke detectors. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for all space heaters. If using a fireplace, make sure the flue is open and ventilating properly. Teach children to stay away from fireplaces, space heaters and any other open heat sources such as wall heating units, and keep any cords out of the way to prevent tripping. Never use an outdoor grill indoors for heating or cooking.

Snow and ice on the roads.
Snow and ice on the roads.

Winter precipitation can create treacherous conditions for driving. Tennesseans are strongly encouraged to avoid driving on slick roads if at all possible. Talk with your employer about options for working from home when roads are dangerous. If you must drive, use extreme caution and try to take streets that have been treated with salt or brine to remove ice. Make sure you have plenty of fuel in your vehicle, and that tires are properly inflated. Drivers should also be prepared with emergency supplies in their vehicles, including blankets, water, a windshield scraper and a first aid kit. Be sure to wear seat belts as always and make sure children are properly restrained any time they’re in a vehicle.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared before you hit the road this winter. In addition to an emergency kit, if possible, take a cell phone and charger with you. If you encounter problems on the roadways, dial *THP to directly contact the Tennessee Highway Patrol. State troopers are ready to assist motorists who may need help on roadways,” Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.

Precautions should also be taken to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning when using a generator as a power source during weather emergencies. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning materials such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal or wood. The gas can build up inside your home, garage or camper and poison the people inside. Generators should only be used outside in a well-ventilated area, and individuals using them should follow all instructions for safe and proper use. Never use generators inside your home, basement, garage or camper, or even outside near an open window, door or vent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips on winter health and safety, including checklists to help you prepare for winter weather at Before the Storm.

The State of Tennessee also has many resources available to help keep families safe during winter weather.

Tennesseans can find more resources to help plan for winter weather at the following links:


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