Ready West Point: are you ready for winter?

By Thomas Slater Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, DPTMS

November 7th, 2019 | News, News and Features
Be ready and prepared to stay safe this winter. Winter storms and cold temperatures can be extremely hazardous in the northeast. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead.   File Photo

Be ready and prepared to stay safe this winter. Winter storms and cold temperatures can be extremely hazardous in the northeast. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead.
Take these steps:

Winterize your home
• Install weather stripping, insulation and storm windows.
• Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
• Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.

Check your heating systems
• Have your heating system serviced professionally to ensure it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside.
• Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
• Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
• Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies. Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of this deadly, odorless and  colorless gas.
• Learn the symptoms of CO poisoning:  headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

Prepare Your Car
• Service the radiator and maintain the antifreeze level (don’t mix orange and green antifreeze). Check tire treads. If necessary replace tires with all weather or snow tires.
• Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
• Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
• Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded:
– Blankets
– Food and Water
– Compass and maps
– Booster cables, flares, tire pump, bag of sand or cat litter (for traction)
– Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries
– First Aid Kit
– Plastic bags (for sanitation).

Outdoor Precautions
• Wear appropriate outdoor clothing:  layers of light, warm clothing to include mittens, hats, scarf and waterproof boots.
• Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
• Carry a charged cell phone.
• Work slowly when doing outside chores.
Travel
• When planning travel, be aware of current and forecasted weather conditions.
• If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.

If you become stranded in your car
• Stay with your car unless safety is close by; continue to move your arms and legs.
• Stay visible by putting a bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
• Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
• Keep a downwind window open.
• Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.

Check out the following websites for really helpful and great information on “How to Prepare for a Winter Storm” at https://www.fema.gov and https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather.

Places to go for weather, closure updates (future article will explain Codes Red and White)
• West Point Weather Line: 845-938-7000
• West Point Garrison website: https://www.westpoint.army.mil/
• West Point Garrison Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/USAGWestPoint
• Status of Storm King Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/StatusofStormKing
• Radio station: WHUD 100.7