(What to do before, during and after)
Heavy snowfall and harsh winter/harshest can cause complete disruption of a region. Winter storms can be followed by severe floods, cyclones, blocked roads and the failure of power lines.
Unusual cold weather may cause the ground freeze to a substantial depth and consequently water and sewer pipes may crack.
Measures before snowfall and ice
- Add something to your house hold equipment to use at emergency time. They include: salt for thawing roads, sand for ease of movement, shovel and some appliances for pushing snow.
- The use of antifreeze for radiators and additives such as alcohol /ethanol in window washer at a very low temperature is very important otherwise it will freeze.
- Always have flashlights or portable lighting.
- Rescue bags and first aid should be always available at home.
- Always listen to weather reports on radio or TV.
- Identify the nearest rescue forces such as Red Crescent Society, highway patrol, emergency, clinics, fire forces and police headquarters in order to help you at the time of emergency.
- Since the main source of fuel is likely to be cut. Supply enough and suitable fuel for heat. For example dry wood to burn in stoves or fireplaces.
- Insulate the walls, cover the gaps in doors and windows, cover the windows and install perfect storm windows. Then you can be ready for coming winter.
- Prepare the house, stalls, shells and places possible for family, neighbors, livestock and equipment beforehand. Cut tree branches which may fall.
- Put the fire extinguisher in a place available for family members. House fire is generally due to failure to comply with safety tips about heat sources.
- Learn how to close the main valve because it will be useful if a pipe bursts.
Check your car
- Make sure that your automobile contains antifreeze in order to prevent its freezing.
- Make sure you have chains and use them if necessary.
- Ignition network and battery of the car must be in the best condition (the battery poles should also be clean).
- Check the brake, gear, water and oil of engine well.
- Replace the air and fuel filter if necessary.
- Heat and ice debugger should work well.
- Check the exhaust pipes in order not to be a hole or problem and repair or replace it in case of failure.
- Check the oil and its quality. Heavy oil may harden in low temperatures and they cannot work well.
- Make sure the thermostat is working properly.
- Plow and equipment of the front of the car should work well. Repair any problem. Keep the source water for washing windows filled.
- Use fit winter tires on vehicles.
- During winter, keep at least half a tank filled.
- Each vehicle should have emergency supplies including: a hoes, a small broom or shovel, flashlight, a spare/extra battery, water, snacks, matches, hat, extra socks and gloves, first aid bag and a small knife, essential drugs, blankets, two strands of chain or rope, salt and sand to pour on the road and reflective tow cable.
Actions during and after the snowfall and ice
- Extreme temperature and harsh winds can cause freezing of open parts of body within a few minutes. So cover the whole body, hands and feet. Be careful, heat is quickly removed from open parts instead cold easily enters. So first you should close your collar, cuff, and trouser legs with a cord or band and put the pant legs into your socks or shoes.
- Instead of wearing a heavy dress, wear several appropriate, comfortable and lightweight but warm clothes. Don’t forget a hat. In addition, to protect your lungs, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf.
- Listen to radio or TV to be informed of weather forecast.
- If necessary, by maintaining normal temperature of the room, save fuel. Sometimes/ once in a time turn off the heaters or heat devices of other rooms.
- Wrap any insulation material or several layers of newspaper around the pipes to avoid freezing them. Open all hot water taps completely to pour on the pipes.
- When using oil lamps, turn on fans in order for toxic gases not to remain in the room. Oil the oil lamp outside the house again and if possible put/place/let it far from flammable objects.
- Check the food and water available at home to be enough for your family during a few days. Plan for its rationing if necessary.
- Before leaving the house, inform one of the relatives of your destination and departure time.
- If you feel numb and pale at the end of finger, toe, tip of the ear and tip of the nose, ask for help.
- If you observe a severe drop in the body temperature, take the patient to a warm place. Then remove the wet clothes and cover his/her body in a blanket. Warm important parts of his/her body and transfer him/her to a medical center.
If you are driving:
- Fill the gasoline tank. If the car breaks down, stay inside until help arrives.
- If the car breaks down, after calling up relief centers and until they reach, stay inside the car to be safe from freezing and its dangers such as predatory animals.
- Avoid strenuous activities such as pushing the car.
- If your car sinks into snow, it’s enough to remove the snow in front of the wheels and move in heavy gear.
- If you get stuck on the road, take all the clothes in the trunk. Be sure that you will need all.
- If your car fuel is over and assistance forces haven’t reached yet, you can create smoke as a sign by burning the spare tire. In addition you can save your life by its heat as long as it is burning. The best ways to burn tires are the use of gasoline, cloth soaked in oil and other flammable materials such as oil.
- Drive only if necessary. If you have to drive, keep in mind the following:
Drive during the day and share your schedule with others. Drive from main roads not shortcuts.
If you get stuck in the car because of snow or ice:
- Pull off the road. Turn on your hazard lights. Hang a cloth or an emergency sign from the car radio antenna or window to ask for help.
- Don’t walk at all unless you see a building nearby where you can take refuge. Be careful, because of snow, the distance may not seem real.
- It may be a building nearby; however, it may not be near enough to walk in a deep snow.
- To stay warm, turn on the heater or car engine 10 minutes each hour. When the engine is on, open one of the windows in the wind direction for air conditioning. Clear exhaust pipe from snow to prevent poisoning by the toxic gas ‘carbon monoxide’.
- Be sure to have one person to turn awake all the times until rescue team members arrive.
- Keep the lights inside the car on in order for the rescue team to find you.
- Don’t do much activity when you are shoveling the snow because it may cause a heart attack in people who are prone. Shovel the snow if necessary but stretch your hands and feet before getting out of the car and starting.