Winter weather safety tips

According to the calendar, winter has just begun. And already we have seen our share of harsh winter weather around Michiana.

Snow is nothing new to Michiana, and for the most part, we are prepared for most of the snow that comes our way. But on occasion, we get winter weather that can leave people stuck in their homes, perhaps without power, for days. That is why it is important to have emergency supplies on hand.

"You should have at least a three day supply of food, water, medications, things that should keep you sustained while you're at home,” advised Deputy Director Mike Jacobs of St. Joseph County Emergency Management. “Most generally, within three days they can get you out, or things are cleaned up enough that you can get out,"

A flashlight, candles, extra blankets, a first aid kit, and a weather radio are all things you should have available with your emergency kit. If you are using a generator or a kerosene heater, make sure you have proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

You should have a similar emergency kit for your car, which also includes flares, jumper cables, a shovel, ice scraper, tools, and a charger for your cell phone, in case you get stuck.

"If you are forced to be stranded in your vehicle, you should run your car maybe ten minutes every hour, and if you are running it, crack your window open just a little bit, just so you don't have carbon monoxide issues," said Jacobs.

It is also be a good idea to tie a brightly colored cloth to your antenna so that rescuers can find the car more easily.

And finally, if you are outside shoveling after a big snowfall, make sure to bundle up, and to take breaks so that you do not overexert yourself.

Winter weather can be pretty to look at but dealing with it is not always a pretty picture.

In addition to those tips, South Bend Mayor Steve Luecke encourages drivers to slow down because of the inclement weather.

He said to follow these simple tips...

Keep a safe distance when driving behind snow plows, they have numerous blind spots and may not be able to see your car.

Do not try to pass plows that are moving between cars parked on the curb line.

If possible, park on driveways or in garages away from curb lines.

Finally, do not shovel or blow snow into the street, this causes a traffic obstruction.

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