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Hoosiers should prepare before winter weather hits

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) encourages Hoosiers to use Winter Weather Preparedness Week, Nov. 11-17, as a time for learning and household preparation.

Power outages are a major concern during severe winter storms. Snow, ice, high winds and extreme cold conditions may cause above ground power lines to work irregularly or stop working. Winter Weather Preparedness Week provides a chance for Hoosiers to prepare and practice a household emergency plan for utility distractions.

  • Gather warm blankets, sleeping bags and clothing layers to help keep household members warm.
  • Insulate rooms with blankets or other barrier materials over windows and doors.
  • Know how to determine if it is safe to travel and know where to go should the power go out. Identify a friend or family member’s house, or a nearby shelter.

Winter Weather Preparedness Kit

If the power goes out, remember to call the electric utility company right away. A household preparedness plan for winter weather can help in the event of a power outage. A few suggested items to include in a preparedness kit are:

  • Battery operated or hand crank all hazard radio
  • Extra clothing – hats, scarves, mittens, socks
  • Warm blankets and sleeping bags for insulation

Winter Driving Hazards

IDHS cautions Hoosiers to limit traveling during severe winter weather. However, if driving is unavoidable, review a few preparation and safety tips before an emergency occurs.

  • Download the IDHS County Travel Advisory Map in the App Store and Google Play Store. The app is updated with county travel statuses from the emergency management agencies and describes the conditions for a travel warning, watch, advisory and caution.
  • Create an emergency preparedness kit for every vehicle. A few suggested items for kits include extra blankets, non-perishable food, jumper cables and spare clothes.
  • Schedule an appointment with a mechanic for a thorough check of each vehicle before a winter storm hits, especially the brakes, battery and tires.

Alternative Heating Sources

To battle the cold bite of winter and high heating costs, many Hoosiers across the state turn to alternative heating sources. During Winter Weather Preparedness Week, State Fire Marshal James Greeson reminds Hoosiers to take extra precautions if these alternative heating sources are used.

  • Appliances such as ovens should never be used for heating. Doing so can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not close the fireplace damper too early while ashes are still hot. Closing the damper too early can force dangerous levels of carbon monoxide into the home.
  • Space heaters should be kept away from loose or flammable objects such as clothing, curtains, bedding and furniture.

For more winter weather preparedness information, visit 

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Homeland Security