Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Tammy Jordan
BVD 

Take Advantage of Resources to Prepare for Winter or Emergencies

 

January 1, 2020

Tammy Jordan

It's January. We've had snow off and on since September but weather predictions are calling for colder temperatures and more snow in the coming months. Are you ready?

As Montanans, we're no stranger to winter. It's something we live with year after year. Some years are tougher than others, bringing heavy snow, bitter cold temperatures, and dangerous driving conditions. It's always good to be prepared for winter conditions, whether traveling, staying home, or participating in outdoor recreation.

While most of us think we know what we need to have on hand or how to deal with winter, it's always a good idea to review the basics and know where resources are available.

One such resource is right here in Lincoln at our local library. They have on hand and free of charge, the FEMA workbook entitled "Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness." It's full of materials on almost every type of disaster situation including winter weather and wildfires - things Lincoln residents could benefit from reading up on. The book also contains the link and information regarding the SMART911 app and a guide to "Create Your Family Emergency Communication Plan," as well as disaster supply checklists to better enable you to have the essentials on hand in the event of an emergency situation.

In addition to the FEMA workbook, there are several websites available with a vast array of information on being prepared for winter, including the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html), National Weather Service (www.weather.gov ) and the MDT road conditions (https://roadreport.mdt.mt.gov/travinfomobile) websites.

If you travel, you likely have snow tires on your vehicle. If not, it's not too late to get them. They can make a difference on some of those winter roads. Before you travel, check road conditions, and if flying, check for any flight delays and make sure to check the weather for your destination and plan accordingly.

For those traveling by car, weather can wreak havoc on the simplest of trips, even to Helena, Missoula, or Great Falls for a supply run. Experts recommend having the following list of items in your vehicle during the winter months:

Sturdy ice scraper and snow brush

Small collapsible shovel

Extra gloves and winter clothing

Blanket or sleeping bag

Emergency flares or reflectors

Rock salt, sand, or kitty litter

First aid kit

Extra washer fluid

Flashlight

Rope or chain

Jumper cables

Small tool kit

Sunglasses

Cell phone charger

Water and non-perishable snacks

Being prepared at home is also essential. Most folks in Lincoln prepare for winter all summer long. They cut, split, and stack wood to have on hand and have winterized their homes before the first snowflakes have hit the ground. There are several lists out there of what to do to best winterize your home. One such list comes from the Lowes website at https://www.lowes.com/n/how-to/winter-preparedness-checklist. Sure, they want you to purchase the supplies you need from them, but they do offer a pretty in-depth look and description of what and how to get your home ready for winter.

So, as the weather turns colder, take advantage of the resources available and be prepared for whatever Mother Nature decides to throw our way this year.

 

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