FEMA recommends preparations to take the sting out of wintery weather. Here are some things you can do:
* Store drinking water, first aid kit, canned/no-cook food, non-electric can opener, radio, flashlight and extra batteries where you can get them easily, even in the dark.
* Keep cars and other vehicles fueled and in good repair, with a winter emergency kit in each.
* Get a NOAA Weather Radio to monitor severe weather.
* Know the warning terms for each kind of disaster in your community; including.:
"winter storm watch" --- Be alert, a storm is likely.
"winter storm warning" --- Take action, the storm is in or entering the area.
"blizzard warning" --- Snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill--seek refuge immediately!!
"winter weather advisory" --- Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists.
"frost/freeze warning" --- Below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause damage to plants, crops, or fruit trees.
* Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
* Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Install storm shutters, doors and windows; clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks; and check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow--or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
Also, dressing in layers is important when the temperatures drop. Experts recommend wearing several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water-repellent. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Wear a hat. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extremely cold air. Wear sturdy, waterproof boots in snow or flooding conditions.
And remember that if you lose your power and are using kerosene heaters, make sure you maintain ventilation to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes. Keep heaters at least three feet from flammable objects and refuel kerosene heaters outside.