Winter weather safety: Now is the time to prepare for a winter storm

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Posted at 3:00 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 12:21:13-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A winter storm will hit Central Indiana this week, and it’s important to be prepared.

WRTV meteorologists say areas to the north could receive upwards of 10 inches of snow, while people living to the south will likely see 4-8 inches through early Friday morning.

The National Weather Service, which posted a winter storm watch Monday morning for Central Indiana, recommends keeping winter weather preparedness kits in your home and car.

At home, you should keep extra food and water, first aid supplies, extra medicine and baby items, extra pet supplies, a portable charger, a safely and properly used energy heat source, a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector.

If you have to get out during a winter storm, NWS recommends having a full tank of gas, a snow shovel and brush, water and snacks, blankets and warm clothes, jumper cables, a first aid kit, a phone charger, sand or kitty litter and a flashlight.

Citizens Energy Group also reminds people be careful when using any type of space heater. You should keep three feet of space around a space heater and make sure it is away from anything that could burn.

Fuel-burning space heaters can create carbon monoxide, while kerosene heaters should never be refueled inside the home.

Heating a home with a gas oven is also dangerous and can create a buildup of carbon monoxide.

It’s also important to prevent frozen pipes in cold weather. Citizens Energy Group recommends insulating pipes that are exposed to cold air and opening cabinet doors below sinks to let warm air circulate around the pipes.

You can also leave a thin stream of water running when the temperature is below freezing.

The American Red Cross also has a list of things you should do to stay safe during and after a winter storm.

If the power goes out

AES Indiana provided safety tips that include making sure you have your emergency storm kit ready, developing an emergency plan and being prepared before the storm in case the electricity goes out.

If the power goes out, you should turn off all appliances and leave one lamp on so you know when power is restored. A circuit overload could happen if all your appliances turn on at once.

You should also keep your freezer and refrigerator doors closed. Food will stay frozen for 36-48 hours in a fully loaded freezer, while a half-full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 hours if the door is kept closed, according to AES Indiana.

The power company also recommends keeping your blinds open during the day, covering windows with drapes at night and gathering in a central room where there is an alternative heat source, such as a fireplace.

AES Indiana customers can report downed power lines online or by calling 317-261-8111.

Here are some previous stories from WRTV that covered winter weather safety tips.