This week Lincoln County Emergency Management issued a reminder about the importance of winter preparedness.
“We have just seen what can happen when the power is out for several hours when its cold,” said Jay Hokanson of Lincoln County Emergency Management. “Idaho was just dealing with that. So it can happen and has happened in our area.”
Dealing with a power outage in the cold weather means keeping doors closed to limit the amount of cold air getting into a home, said Hokanson.
“Limit your time outside,” he said. “If you get cold you are probably not going to be able to warm up. Maintain the heat in your home by closing off outer rooms and congregating together in a single room. Make it fun for your family by pretending to be on camping trip. Sent up a tent in the living room and get inside. Or make a tent under the table with blankets. Have cold sandwiches. Tell stories. That keeps everyone together and helps to conserve heat. Leave the water running so that things don’t freeze up.”
In the event of an extended loss of power, shelters will be set up, said Hokanson.
“The special needs populations, such as the elderly or infants will have first priority if that occurs,” he said.
For regular winter preparedness, Hokanson said people should always dress for the weather, regardless of how long they plan to be out of doors.
“You might think that you are just going to be in the car and so you don’t bring a coat with you,” he said. “Then what happens if your car breaks down or gets stuck? Always have the right clothing with you because you just don’t know what is going to happen.”
Hokanson also stressed that using equipment in the way it was meant to be used and maintaining it properly is vital to winter safety.
“Be careful with your heating sources,” he said. “Do not use heating and cooking sources designed for the outdoors in your home. Even if the power is out. That is not safe.”
Hydration is also key to winter safety, Hokanson said.
“It sounds weird to think about not getting enough water in the winter,” he said. “But you have to remember that the air is cold and dry and your body needs more liquid. Make sure you are getting the water that you need to stay hydrated.”
Hokanson also advised that area residents make sure their vehicles are ready for winter with the necessary supplies for safety as well as maintenance.
“Always check the weather report and travel report before you leave,” he said.
In making preparations for cold weather, Hokanson also reminded area residents that they should keep an eye on and plan for any family pets.
“Make sure they are taken care of,” he said.