Winter Weather Lessons
Winter may evoke visions of snowflakes, sledding and holiday dinners for some people. Others envision power outages from ice storms and traffic accidents caused by black ice. In reality, when the temperature falls in Oklahoma the dangers of accidents, bursting pipes, health hazards and power failures rise.
During a winter storm, ice will accumulate on overhead power lines, which means there is a good chance you'll be without power. It is a lesson Oklahomans learned during the ice storms of January '07 and December ‘07. If you experience power problems during Oklahoma's next winter storm you can contact the electric companies via their website or by phone. OG&E customers can report an outage online or call (800) 522-6870. PSO customers can call (888) 216-3523 to report an outage or visit their website.
Just in case of a power outage it is important to have emergency supplies on hand in your home. Your household emergency kit should include:
- Cell Phone
- First Aid Kit And Essential Medications
- Battery-Powered NOAA Weather Radio (click here for weather radio transmitter frequencies)
- Extra Batteries
- Canned Food And Can Opener
- At Least Three Days Of Bottled Water, (One Gallon Of Water Per Person A Day)
- Extra Blankets
- Extra Warm Clothing, Including A Warm Coat, Gloves, Boots And A Hat
Your roadside kit should include:
- Extra Winter Clothes And Boots
- Bottled Water
- Non-Perishable Food And A Can Opener
- Special Needs Items (Diapers, Medications)
- Flashlight Or Lantern
- Battery Powered Radio And Extra Batteries
- Extra Batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Booster Cables
- Tow Rope
- Tool Kit
- Windshield Scraper
- Fire Extinguisher (5 Lb., A-B-C Type)
- Tire Repair Kit And Pump
- Sand Or Cat Litter
If you lose electricity or break down on the side of the road during a winter storm, you should do all you can to conserve heat. In the home, you can do this by avoiding unnecessary opening of doors and windows. Another way to keep the heat inside is to close off rooms in homes that are not being used. Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors to keep the drafts out, and close draperies or cover windows with blankets at night. In a car, you should periodically start the vehicle and run the heater to warm the vehicle.
Besides traffic accidents the ice and snow that comes with winter can cause other accidents that cause injury. Slips and falls can lead to serious injuries. You can reduce your risk of slipping and falling by:
- Watching for ice-covered areas; especially sidewalks and steps leading into your home or workplace.
- Don't step on uneven surfaces like curbs or steps.
- Pay attention while walking - digging through your purse, backpack or wallet while walking on ice is dangerous.
- Wear boots or shoes with grip soles. Slick leather or plastic soles on shoes will increase the risk of slipping. You can also buy removable grips for your shoes.
- Don't walk with your hands in your pockets. This reduces the ability to use your arms for balance if you do slip.
- Take short, shuffling steps in very icy areas.
- Curl your toes under and walk as flat-footed as possible.