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Winter Storm Preparedness for Indiana Seniors

January 7, 2016

Winter Storm Preparedness for Indiana Seniors

Indiana seniors can count on at least one winter storm ripping through the heartland every year. Winter weather can knock out heat, power and communication services to your home, sometimes for days at a time.

The following tips can help you and your senior loved one stay safe this winter.

  1. Make an emergency supply kit. Have the following items on hand:
    • Water – plan for 1 gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitary needs
    • Non-perishable food – enough for a 3 day supply
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • First aid kit
    • Adequate clothing and blankets
    • Rock salt to melt ice on walkways
    • Snow shovel
    • A NOAA Weather Radio
  2. Medication and medical supplies.If you take medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, have at least a one-week supply on hand.
    • If you are able to obtain an emergency supply of prescription medications or consumable medical supplies, be sure to rotate your supply so it remains up-to-date.
    • If you undergo routine treatments at a clinic or hospital, or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans for winter storms.
  3. Winterize your vehicle. Check the following items on your car before winter hits:
    • Battery and ignition system - your battery should be less than 3 years old and terminals should be clean.
    • Brakes – have your brakes checked for wear and fluid levels.
    • Heater and defroster – test that both are working well.
    • Windshield – make sure wiper blades are in good condition and that you have proper washer fluid levels.
    • Tires – have tires checked for tread condition, balance and air pressure.
  4. Keep an eye on the sky. Pay attention to weather forecasts and minimize travel when bad weather is expected. If you must travel, keep an emergency kit in your car that contains:
    • Shovel
    • Windshield scraper and small broom
    • Flashlight
    • Battery powered radio
    • Extra batteries
    • Water
    • Healthy, hearty snack foods
    • Matches or a lighter
    • A blanket, extra hats, socks and mittens
    • First aid kit with pocket knife
    • Necessary medications
    • Tow chain or rope
    • Road salt and sand
    • Emergency flares
    • Fluorescent distress flag
  5. Winterize your home.
    • Maintain your furnace and chimneys. Have them cleaned and inspected every year.
    • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
    • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in the home knows how to use one.
    • Have the structural stability of your roof checked. Make sure it can handle heavy accumulations of snow.
    • Allow faucets in the kitchen and bath to drip during cold weather to avoid freezing. Know how to shut off water valves in case a pipe should burst.
  6. Carbon monoxide poisoning kills.
    • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning device inside a home, or other partially enclosed area.
    • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home, especially outside sleeping areas, to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
    • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, quickly move to a fresh air location outdoors.
    • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain outside until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

    Most importantly, anticipate what you would do if you need assistance during a winter storm. Contact your local Indiana emergency management offices to see if they maintain a registry of seniors in your local community. This will help ensure you receive assistance quickly in an emergency.

    For more information on how to be safe this winter, or in any emergency, visit Ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY.