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Ice storm tips

From the Virginia Department of Emergency Management:
 
Possible Significant Icing Event February 12-14
 
• A significant icing event is expected across much of Virginia through the weekend. Continue to monitor the forecast from your local National Weather Service office and sign-up for weather alerts and warnings.
 
• Ice storms can cause downed power lines resulting in possible power outages. If you lose power or spot downed power lines, report it to your electric provider. Prepare for power outages by:
 
1. Taking inventory of what you need that relies on electricity, especially for medical reasons.
 
2. Charging your electronic devices ahead of time and keep extra
batteries and portable chargers on hand.
 
3. Checking to see that your Carbon Monoxide detectors are working and have a battery backup.
 
• Ice storms can cause downed tree limbs. Before an ice storm, trim weak or damaged branches around your home. Do not park your car under trees during an ice storm and do not leave your car wipers raised.
 
• Stay off the roads as much as possible. Be mindful of black ice. Black ice is difficult to see and makes roads very slippery, especially on bridges and overpasses. If you can’t delay your travel, then please:
 
1. Know before you go by checking VDOT’s 511virginia.org for road
conditions.
2. Give yourself more time for travel.
3. Clear all the ice and snow off your car.
4. Slow down.
5. Increase your following distance.
6. Turn your headlights on.
7. Avoid using cruise control.
 
• Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include:
1. Jumper cables
2. Flares or reflective triangle
3. Ice scraper
4. Car cell phone charger
5. Blanket
6. Map
7. Cat litter or sand (for better tire traction)
 
• Give VDOT crews room to work. Never pass snowplows or sanding trucks as
they have limited visibility and may not be able to see you.
 
• Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer or heavy clothing. Wear a hat, scarf, and mittens (which are warmer than gloves) and mask up. Be sure to have several clean masks to use in case your mask becomes wet or damp from snow. Cloth masks should not be worn when
they become damp or wet. Be sure to wash your mask regularly.
 
• Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
• Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes.
– Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm, or waxy skin.
• Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
– Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness.
 
• Even on cold days, it’s important to stay hydrated by consistently drinking fluids throughout the day. Dehydration can make you more susceptible to hypothermia.
 
• Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
 
• Only put one heat-producing appliance in an outlet at a time. Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets. Never use an extension cord or power strip.
 
• Keep anything that can burn three feet from heaters.
 
• Avoid injuries by walking extra carefully if there’s ice or possible black ice on pavements and walkways.
 
• If it is safe to do so, check on neighbors while following the latest guidelines from the CDC on maintaining physical distancing. Consider connecting with family and friends by telephone, e-mail, text messages, video chat, and social media. If you must visit in-person, wear a mask, and maintain a distance of at least six feet from them. Masks should not be worn by children under two
years of age, those who have trouble breathing, and those who are unable to remove them on their own.
 
• If your cold, your pets are cold, too. During winter weather, take your pets inside. Don’t forget to wipe your pet’s paws. Ice-melting chemicals can make your pet sick. If you see pets wandering outside call your local animal control agency.
 
• Move animals and livestock to a sheltered area with non-frozen drinking water.

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