Winter Hazard Awareness Week

This week is Winter Hazard Awareness Week, where public safety officials, including Beltrami County Emergency Management, remind citizens about the dangers ahead of Minnesota’s longest season.

Yesterday’s daily topic was on winter storms and weather. Minnesotans are reminded about winter weather terminology:

  • Winter Storm Outlooks: storm conditions are possible in the next 2-5 days.
  • Winter Storm Watch: winter storm conditions are possible in the next 36-48 hours.
  • Winter Storm Warning: severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours
  • Winter Weather Advisory: impactful winter weather conditions are expected.

Today, the Winter Hazard topic is on outdoor winter safety, especially for frozen lakes and ponds.

Early ice can be dangerous for those who wish to start ice fishing as soon as possible. Ice is never 100 percent safe and a minimum of four inches of new, clear ice is recommended for walking out onto the ice, increasing to 12-15 inches to drive a pickup truck on it.

Frostbite and hypothermia are also dangers for winter recreationists, and Minnesotans should dress accordingly for the temperature.

Wednesday’s awareness topic will focus on winter fire safety. Heating, lighting, cooking and holiday activities can increase the risk of residential fires.

Combustible materials should be kept away from heat sources and open flames, electrical outlets should not be overloaded with holiday lights and candles should be used with caution.

Thursday’s topic focuses on indoor winter safety, particularly the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is invisible, odorless and tasteless, but poisoning by this gas can be identified by headaches, nausea, fatigue, vomiting and disorientation.

Other indoor hazards include radon, a naturally occurring gas from soil, and mold, which can be created by too much moisture and not enough ventilation.

Finally, Friday will focus on winter driving. Drivers should give snowplows the space they need to clear the roads and be aware the plow operators visibility may be reduced due to blowing snow.

Drivers should also have a winter survival kit and stay in contact with family and friends while traveling, especially for expected arrival times.

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