Here are some tips to help you get through the Blizzard of 2013. For more on the tips, click on the links provided.
Shoveling advice from the National Security Council:
-Take it slow, stretch out and warm up before taking to the sidewalk; shoveling can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically.
-Shovel only fresh snow, which is easier than wet, packed-down snow. Shovel fresh snow in increments rather than waiting for the end of the storm.
-Push snow as you shovel rather than lifting, which is harder on your back.
-Don’t pick up too much snow at once.
-Use a small shovel or fill only one-fourth or one-half of the shovel.
-Lift with legs bent and a straight back, putting the majority of work on your shoulders, torso, and thighs.
The state fire marshal recommended these fire safety tips:
-Don’t overload your woodstove, which can easily start a chimney fire.
-Do not bring hibachi or gas grills inside to cook; don’t put propane or charcoal grills or generators in the garage because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
-Keep outside furnace, hot water, and dryer vents clear of drifting show to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the home.
-Prevent freezing pipes by letting hot and cold water faucets drip a trickle and open cupboards under sinks to let heat circulate around the pipes..
-Store gasoline for snow blowers outside the home in small quantities in approved containers.
In case of power outages, the city of New Bedford advised:
-Fill your bathtub and spare containers with water if your water supply could be affected by a power outage (say, if you have a well-water). The bathtub water should be used for washing and flushing, not as drinking water.
-Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. During an outage, do not open the fridge or freezer door.
-If you lose heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors, and cover windows with extra blankets or sheets at night.
-Be sure to eat. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
-Be cautious if you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm. Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by snowdrifts, trees, or debris, and could be live. Never attempt to touch or move downed lines and keep children and pets away.
Cell phone tips:
-Keep wireless phone batteries charged at all times.
-Have a family communication plan in place; designate someone out of the area as a central contact that all family members can contact if anyone gets separated.
-Program emergency contact numbers and email addresses into your cellphone.
-Use your phone’s camera to take, store, and send photos of damaged property to your insurance company.
-Limit non-emergency calls as the network will be busy with people trying to call loved ones, friends, and business associates.
Auto safety steps if the blizzard traps you in your car from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Association:
-Keep gas tanks full
-Travel during daylight hours.
-If trapped in your car, pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from your radio antenna or window.
-Remain in the vehicle where rescuers are more likely to find you. Do not leave your car on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
-Exercise to maintain body head but avoid overexertion. Use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation and huddle with passengers for warmth.
-Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for rescue crews.
-Do not waste battery power. Use lights, heat, and radio only when necessary.
-At night, turn on the inside light so work crews and rescuers can see you.Lauren Dezenski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org