How Prepared Are You for Winter Weather, West Hill?

  Community Interest

by Devin Chicras

With plenty of winter weather on the way, let’s take a look at all the ways you can conquer anything the cold, snow, or ice can throw at us – from checklists and handy contacts to add to your phone to automatic alerts and more. How many of these tips did you already know about?

Here’s what King County Emergency Management says:

Take Winter by Storm Emergency Checklist

How to Prepare:

  • Store extra fuel and emergency supplies to survive several days without electricity, heat, and hot water. Consider purchasing a generator and strictly adhere to safety standards.
  • Know safe alternate travel routes to/from your home, work, and school in case roads are closed.
  • Learn the signs of hypothermia – a common problem during freezing temperatures – and how to treat it. Young children and older adults are especially vulnerable. To prevent hypothermia:
    • Wear warm, multi-layered clothing, hats, gloves, and footwear.
    • Change into dry clothes whenever clothing becomes wet.
    • Limit your exposure to freezing temperatures.
  • Protect your pets. If you cannot bring them indoors, provide warm and dry shelter with access to unfrozen water.
  • Winterize your home. Install storm windows. Insulate walls, attics, and pipes. Apply caulk and weather-stripping to doors and windows. Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to keep pipes from freezing. Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
  • Winterize your vehicles. Keep them in good repair and fuel tanks at least half full. Have the battery, ignition system, radiator, lights, brakes, and tires checked. Fill reservoirs for antifreeze, oil, and window washer fluids. Keep winter weather emergency supplies in your trunk.
Dressing for Cold Weather chart

What to do during a winter storm:

  • Stay informed. Monitor local news and information on your TV, mobile device, or battery-operated radio. Follow emergency instructions.
  • Stay indoors, if possible. If you go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing and avoid exertion. Cold weather puts added strain on the heart. Perform hard work, such as shoveling, slowly.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia and get medical help immediately. Symptoms include:
    • Uncontrolled shivering.
    • Slow or unclear speech.
    • Extreme fatigue.
    • Stumbling, confusion, semi-consciousness, or unconsciousness.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas, especially fallen power lines and flooded roadways. When outside, be aware of tree limbs or structures that may fall due to heavy snow or ice accumulation.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by appliances that malfunction or are used improperly.
  • Check on neighbors; especially anyone who might need extra help.
  • Avoid travel, if possible. If you must drive, fill your fuel tank beforehand, stay on main roads, and keep others informed of your schedule and route. Pay attention to any travel advisories and do not drive in low visibility conditions. Slow down to avoid traffic accidents.
  • If you become stranded, call for help, set your vehicle’s hazard lights to flashing, and remain with your vehicle. Don’t set out on foot unless you see a building close by where you know you can get help or take shelter.
King County Snow Plow Routes map for 2020

Local, state, and federal resources:

King County Winter Weather Response map

Real-time information and alerts

And don’t forget:

You can engage with us daily on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram, where we frequently post additional resources and dispatches from the ground on more than just preparedness.

Connect with us and let us know if we missed any resources you find exceptionally valuable for winter weather preparedness, or maybe just share that really neat snowman you made in your backyard.

If you found this round-up of critically important tips curated especially for our neighbors in unincorporated West Hill (Skyway, Lakeridge, Bryn Mawr, Campbell Hill, et al) helpful, consider joining us as a monthly donor – even $5/month goes a long way for our lean all-volunteer nonprofit, and we appreciate every single one of you.