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January 6, 2014

Winter weather safety, driving tips

MILLEDGEVILLE —

A wind and wind chill advisory is in effect for Baldwin and surrounding counties, and cold weather requires local residents to take additional precautions. 

“One of the primary concerns of winter weather is its ability to knock out heat, power and communications services,” said Baldwin County Fire Chief and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Troy Reynolds via press release. “Preparation is inexpensive and easy, and can help you avoid potentially life-threatening situations.”

Baldwin County Fire Rescue urges local residents to be prepared for the impending winter weather by keeping a home emergency kit on hand. Kits should include at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food, water, a flashlight with extra batteries, a NOAA Weather Radio, adequate clothing and blankets. Kits should also contain additional supplies for family needs such as personal medications. 

Local residents are advised to also keep a spare emergency kit in their vehicles. 

Ensure proper home insulation by placing weather stripping around doors and windows, allowing faucets to drip during cold weather to prevent freezing and opening cabinet doors to let heat reach un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls. 

It is also important to create a winter weather plan:

• Plan to stay inside, if necessary, for at least three days. If trapped outside during severe winter weather, try to stay dry, cover all body parts, periodically move limbs to keep blood circulating and, if possible, build a fire.

• Winter storms are often accompanied by power outages. Always exercise caution when using alternative light and heating sources: 

• Use flashlights during power outages instead of candles to prevent the risk of fire, and keep plenty of extra batteries on-hand. 

• Never bring portable generators, camp stoves and grills into your home; they should only be used outside. Keep them at least 20 feet away from your home's windows, doors and vents to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

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