KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Severe winter weather is expected to take aim at much of the Midwest this weekend so emergency management professionals are urging residents and business owners to be ready for everything from icy roads and power outages to possible flash flooding.
“Preparing for an emergency before it strikes can literally save your life or property,” said Beth Freeman, administrator of the Kansas City, Mo. office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “With dangerous winter weather around the corner, we’re urging residents and business owners in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa to take this storm seriously, get ready now and stay informed.”
Officials from the National Weather Service and FEMA’s Region VII office in Kansas City have been monitoring the development of a powerful winter storm that is likely to impact multiple states in the central U.S. Forecast models indicate the winter system could become a dangerous storm that could generate impactful ice accumulations, which likely will cause treacherous road conditions, damage to structures, and may result in power outages.
Here are some tips to help individuals, families and business owners prepare:
Have a plan
Severe winter weather can include snow or subfreezing temperatures, strong winds and ice or heavy rain storms. What would you do if you are stranded at home or on the road? How will your family reunite if separated by severe weather? Do you have food and supplies on hand to survive for at least three days, especially without power? Your plan should cover a range of hazards with an immediate focus on winter weather-related hazards including power outages, and flooding. Include an up-to-date list of contacts you want to have in case of an emergency. To learn more, go to: www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.
Gather emergency supplies for your home
Include a three-day supply of food and water for each person, as well as personal essentials such as medicine and clothing, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries, and first-aid supplies.
Gather emergency supplies for your vehicle
It’s best to avoid traveling by car if there is a severe weather threat. If it’s unavoidable, make sure to have emergency supplies in the vehicle. These supplies should include the same essentials as you have at home, plus the following:
- Adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm – don’t forget mittens, scarves, hats;
- Sand to improve traction;
- A snow shovel;
- Cash (ATMs won’t work without power);
- A full tank of gas before the storm arrives.
For more information, go to: www.ready.gov/winter-weather
Monitor media for updated information on the storm and/or actions to take.
Follow the directions provided by local, state or tribal officials regarding emergency actions
If you are told to stay off the roads, don’t venture out. Shelter in place at your home or business.
Check on your neighbors or friends, particularly those who are vulnerable or need extra support.
Older adults and individuals who are dependent on life-sustaining medical equipment or assistive devices such as a ventilator or mobility devices, may need additional support in areas that have lost power.
Other Important Tips:
Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read and follow instructions on the generator label and in the owner’s manual. Any electrical cables you use with the generator should be free of damage and suitable for outdoor use.
Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. Deaths have occurred when consumers burned charcoal or used camp stoves in enclosed spaces, which produced lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
Install carbon monoxide alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home to protect against CO poisoning. Change the alarms' batteries every year.
Stay away from downed wires, including cable TV feeds. They may be live with deadly voltage.
Use caution with candles. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.
Follow FEMA online at www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Find regional updates from FEMA Region VII at www.twitter.com/femaregion7. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.