November 6 has been declared Winter Weather Awareness Day for the State of Nebraska. This is the day to concentrate on preparing for winter weather. In Nebraska, a major winter storm can last for several days and can include, snow, high winds, freezing rain, sleet, heavy snowfall and dangerously low temperatures. The arrival of extremely cold temperatures, heavy snow and flooding caused by ice jams can create hazardous conditions and hidden problems. Winter dangers include hypothermia, frostbite, loss of fingers and toes, and even death.
It is important to protect yourself from dangerous winter weather. The first thing you can do is to stay inside as much as possible. Close off rooms that are not needed in order to conserve heat. Keep your thermostat at a steady temperature during the day and set it to lower your temperature at night and whenever the house is unoccupied by ten degrees. Cover your windows at night and wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Remove layers to prevent overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill. If you are using alternate forms of heat, such as electric or space heaters, be sure to observe all safety warnings.
If you must be outside, remember to avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor could be sufficient to cause a heart attack. If you sweat while in your winter gear, perspiration could lead to a chill and hypothermia. If you get caught outside, try to stay dry and cover all body parts. If you are stranded, do not attempt to walk for help. Harsh weather conditions can cause you to become disoriented. If your car will start, run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat, but make sure you have a window cracked to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your exhaust pipe is not blocked. Remember to occasionally move your arms, legs, fingers and toes vigorously in order to keep your blood circulating and to stay as warm as possible.
Equip your car with a winter safety kit, which should include the following items:
- a shovel
- windshield scraper and small broom
- flashlight with extra batteries
- battery powered radio
- snack food including energy bars
- raisins and mini candy bars
- matches and small candles
- extra hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- blankets or sleeping bag
- tow chain or rope
- road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
- booster cables
- emergency flares and reflectors
- fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
- Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter
Inserra & Kelley reminds you to have fun this winter, but remain safe and be aware of your surroundings to avoid weather related accidents. If a loved one or you have been injured in a weather related accident, call Inserra & Kelley toll free at 1-800-642-1242. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. If you have a valid claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.