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Staying Safe during a Blizzard
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Winter weather, particularly blizzards, are extraordinarily dangerous weather events fully capable of burying cars, houses, and creating potentially life-threatening conditions.
It is one thing to be prepared for a blizzard, but quite another to actually be caught in the middle of one. For safety's sake, here are some tips for riding the storm out and coming through unscathed.
First Steps to Safety
Seek some type of shelter immediately. Winds driven by blizzard conditions can reach wind chill rapidly, lowering your body temperature to dangerous levels. The longer you are exposed to the elements, the greater your risk for hypothermia and frostbite.
If you are wet, try to get dried out as soon as possible. If you can light a fire, this will help with warmth and with keeping clothing dry.
Use the snow to your advantage. Deep snow actually acts as insulation from the cold temps, so consider digging a snow cave to take refuge in if you are stuck somewhere outside. Stay hydrated. Although most of us have eaten snow, this is not recommended. Melt the snow first before ingesting.
If you are caught in your vehicle, stay there, as the vehicle offers an effective barrier against the cold. It will also make you more visible to anyone who may happen to pass through. Keep the car running if possible, but only for short periods, enough to keep warm, and crack the windows to allow for some fresh air to circulate. Remember that carbon monoxide can build up rapidly inside the car if the tailpipe is buried in the snow. You could also open the hood or hang brightly colored cloths or plastic from the doors as a distress sign.
What Steps You Can Take at Home
If you are riding the storm out at home, be mindful of secondary heat sources such as fireplaces, stoves, or space heaters. Make sure there is adequate ventilation and keep children away. Try to remain in one room, which will conserve heat and energy. Close off all unused rooms in the home. Stay hydrated and nourished in case the heat is out for an extended period of time. The healthier you are, the better you will be able to deal with subpar conditions.
Also, don't forget about your pets. Outdoor pets should be moved indoors for the duration of the storm or taken to a sheltered area or kennel.
Being prepared ahead of a storm or a blizzard season is the best option for staying safe.
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