Minnesota Winter Hazard Awareness Week

Today is the first day of Minnesota’s Winter Hazard Awareness Week. The following tips from Beltrami County Emergency Management should be kept in mind throughout the winter months.

Monday, Nov. 14: Winter Storms

Minnesota experiences a variety of dangerous winter weather including heavy snowfall, blizzards and extreme cold temperatures.  Know what alerts and warnings mean.  A WATCH indicates winter storm conditions are possible in the next 36-48 hours, pay attention to the forecast.  A WARNING means life-threatening severe winter conditions are expected within the next 24 hours.  An ADVISORY indicates impactful winter weather is expected and could cause inconveniences.

Tuesday, Nov. 15: Outdoor Winter Safety

Frostbite and hypothermia can be painful, have lasting injuries, and even be fatal.  Make sure you dress appropriately for the weather conditions when outdoors.  If you are ice skating or ice fishing, make sure the ice meets the recommended thickness.  Four inches of new clear ice is recommended for walking and a foot of ice is recommended for a small truck.  Clear sidewalks and walkways for safety, especially for those with access and functional needs.

Wednesday, Nov. 16: Winter Home and Fire Safety

Residential fires increase during the winter months as we participate in more cooking, lighting of candles, holiday decorations and heating our homes.  Keep flames away from flammable materials and do not overload outlets with holiday lights.  Don’t use alternative heating sources that are not intended for inside heating, such as gas grills.

Thursday, Nov. 17: Indoor Winter Safety

During the winter months we seal up our homes to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.  In that process we also reduce ventilation.  Have your furnace serviced and make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed.  Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that can be fatal.  Also be aware of chemical and environmental exposure.  Check for asbestos and be familiar with radon.

Friday, Nov. 18: Winter Driving

If you must travel during impactful winter weather, make sure to travel with a winter survival kit and a cell phone.  Make sure you have a charger if you become stranded and tell family and friends your expected travel route and time.  If travel advisories are issued, listen to them and do not travel.  Make sure your vehicle is equipped for winter driving conditions including a tune-up and appropriate tires.  Snowplow trucks are huge compared to your car.  Last year there were 72 crashes with plows.  Give them space and be prepared for them to maneuver back and forth as they clear shoulders and turn lanes.  Do not pass a plow if it is not safe.  Check 511mn.org for road conditions.

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