Tips to prepare for upcoming winter storm
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- With the chance for another major winter storm this weekend, local and state officials are urging people to prepare now.
Last week's storm knocked out power for days for thousands of Central Virginia residents, and it is possible that this upcoming storm will do the same.
There are several things people can do to prepare, including creating or updating emergency kits for homes and vehicles.
Residents should have a snow shovel and ice melt or salt on hand for after the storm.
They should also have one gallon of drinkable water per person per day, a supply of non-perishable foods, flashlights and batteries, a first aid kit, personal sanitation items like garbage bags and moist towelettes, any necessary prescriptions, baby or pet products, warm clothing and extra blankets, a fire extinguisher, matches, activities, and disposable plates and utensils for at least three days.
Residents should also know how to shut off water valves in case of a burst pipe and make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly.
In the case of a power outage, there are several tips, especially regarding medical needs.
Residents should talk with a medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices that need power and refrigerated medications, especially those that are critical for life.
Know what items that are needed rely on electricity and work to have batteries or other alternatives to meet needs when the power goes out.
If you have a generator, it should be used in well-ventilated locations outside, away from all doors, windows and vent openings. A generator should never be used inside an attached garage, even with the door open.
When refueling, make sure the generator is turned off and has had time to cool down.
If there is a loss of power, residents should gather in one room and wear layered clothing and hats in order to stay warm.
Unplugging appliances and electronics can help to protect them from a power surge when electricity is restored.
If at all possible, people should avoid driving in the storm and should wait until crews have had a chance to clear roads.
Anyone who does have to go out should increase their following distance when behind another vehicle, slow down, and avoid slamming on the brakes on slick roads.
Check car batteries, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid and tire air pressure. Also replace worn tires or wiper blades if needed.
Vehicle emergency kits should contain jumper cables, flashlights and batteries, flares or warning triangles, a warm blanket, an ice scraper, a first aid kit, drinking water and snacks, and a tow strap.
The Virginia State Police is urging everyone to be weather aware if they have to go out on the roads. They should check road conditions before heading out.
Current weather forecasts say all of Virginia is likely to be affected by varying combinations of precipitation, including rain, snow, ice and sleet.
Vehicles should be cleared of all snow and ice, including from the roof, trunk and hood, before traveling.
For more information on being prepared, check out these resources from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.