Chief Michael L. Smith
Emergency Management Director
10 Loring Drive, Framingham, MA 01702
Phone: 508-620-4942, Fax: 508-620-4946
FEMA Factsheet: Winter Storms
A major winter storm can be lethal. Preparing for cold weather conditions and responding to them effectively can reduce the dangers caused by winter storms.
Be familiar with winter storm warning messages.
Service snow removal equipment and have rock salt on hand to melt ice on walkways and kitty litter to generate temporary traction.
Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.
Winterize your home.
Have safe emergency heating equipment available.
Install and check smoke detectors.
Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on winter storms.
Keep pipes from freezing.
Have disaster supplies on hand, in case the power goes out.
Develop an emergency communication plan.
In case family members are separated from one another during a winter storm (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a severe
If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and
wrap pipes in rags.
Listen to the radio or television to get the latest information.
Stretch before you go out.
Cover your mouth.
Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities.
Winter Storm Watches and Warnings
A blizzard warning means that large amounts of falling or blowing snow and sustained winds of at least 35 miles per hour are expected for several hours.
Frostbite and Hypothermia
Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion.
If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance. Warm the person's trunk first. Use your own body heat to help. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. Put person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket.
Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine in it (like coffee or tea) or alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body. Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.
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