6 Things You Can Do to Get Ready for Winter Weather

Posted at 3:05 p.m.

In late October, Hurricane Sandy brought heavy rain, wind, flooding and, yes, even snow to parts of Virginia!  It’s not too early to get ready for winter weather.

Here are six important tips for protecting yourself and your home this winter:

  1. Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad. It’s always best to stay off roads during winter storms.  Most traffic crashes happen within the first two hours after a storm starts.  Get road conditions by calling 511 or visiting www.511Virginia.org.
  2. If you heat with a fireplace or wood stove, have a professional check it, especially if it has been a long time since the last cleaning.  Residue can build up and cause fires.
  3. Use space heaters safely. Never plug them into extension cords; plug into wall outlets. Keep space heaters at least three feet from other objects, and turn off before going to bed.
  4. Stay informed during power outages. Be sure you have a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio (and extra batteries).  Get one with the NOAA Weather Radio band so you can hear winter weather reports directly from the National Weather Service as well as local radio stations. These are available at electronics, discount and sporting goods stores, and online from many retail outlets. Models are available for those with special needs. And remember your cellphone — make sure you keep it charged and have power cords in your vehicle for charging your phone in case you lose power in your home.tree branch with ice - get ready for winter weather
  5. Don’t use candles during power outages. Many home fires in winter are caused by candles. Flashlights are much safer. Be sure to have plenty of extra batteries.
  6. Most importantly, you need a family emergency plan. If your family cannot return home because of severe weather or closed roads, you need to decide now on where you will meet to reunite. You also need an out-of-town relative or friend to be your family emergency contact. ReadyNoVa.org has personal and business emergency planning templates you can use.

Learn more about making a plan for winter weather and all emergencies – and get a free family emergency plan worksheet – at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. Additional winter preparedness tips are on our website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/winter.

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