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Winter Driving Precautions:

a. Keep gas tank full for emergency travel and to keep the fuel line from freezing.

b. Before every trip, let someone know your destination, route and estimated time of arrival.

c. Keep emergency supplies in the trunk of your car

d. If you get stuck, remain visible to rescuers by keeping the overhead light on and attaching a brightly colored cloth to your antenna.

e. As you sit in a stalled car, move your arms and legs to keep blood circulating.

f. Keep one window slightly open to let fresh air in.



Terrorism forces us to make a choice. We can be afraid or we can be ready!

1. Make an emergency supply kit. While there are many things that might make you more comfortable, think first about fresh water, food, and clean air. Consider putting together two kits. In one, put everything needed to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to get away.

2. Make a family communications plan. Plan in advance what you will do in an emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation. Use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the attack, the first important decision is whether you stay put or get away. You should understand and plan for both possibilities.

3. Be informed. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. However, there are important differences among potential terrorist threats such as biological, chemical, explosive, nuclear and radiological, that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. Call 1-800-Be-Ready for a free brochure or go to

4. Remain calm. Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities on the scene. Above all, stay calm, be patient and think before you act. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected


Disaster Supply Kit:

Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days. Assemble a disaster supplies kit with items you may need in case of an evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller disaster supplies kit in the trunk of your car. A list of items for your disaster supply kit can be found at



If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible. Don't drive across a flooded street or depression. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car and its occupants away. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.




Tornadoes can happen in any state. Peak months are March through August, but they can occur any time. The best shelter is a basement or storm shelter. Stay away from windows. If no basement is available, move to small rooms such as closets or bathrooms in the center of the building. In open country, lie face down in a low area and cover your head. Flying debris is the major cause of tornado deaths and injuries.




To limit your exposure to mosquitoes that can carry the West Nile Virus, follow the "4-D's":

a. Dusk/Dawn are prime mosquito biting hours. It is important to protect yourself by using insect repellent during these hours. Also consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.

b. Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.

c. Deet is an ingredient to look for in your insect repellent. Deet is the most effective and best-studied insect repellent available. A product containing 20% to 25% Deet will provide 4 to 5 hours of protection.

d. Drain standing water in old tires, barrels, buckets, cans, clogged rain gutters and other items which collect water to reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.



Family Emergency Plan:

It's important to have a family emergency plan in place before disaster strikes. Remember that the objective of a family emergency plan is to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours. An emergency can happen anytime and anywhere. Practice often helps people feel less disoriented and better organized in case of a disaster - even in the middle of the night or the middle of winter.



Wildland Fire:

Are you worried about the wildfire threat to your home? Follow these six steps to an effective survivable space:

1. Determine the distance needed for survivable space for your home based on slope and type of vegetation. This distance can range from 30 feet to 200 feet.

2. Remove any dead vegetation including trees and shrubs, dead branches lying on the ground, dried grass, leaves and needles and firewood stacks.

3. Break up continuous vegetation. The more continuous and dense the vegetation, the greater the wildfire threat.

4. Remove ladder fuels. Vegetation that allows a fire to move from lower growing plants to taller ones is referred to as ladder fuel. This can be alleviated by providing a separation between vegetation layers.

5. The area immediately adjacent to your house is particularly important in terms of an effective survivable space. Within an area extending at least 30 feet from your house, flammable vegetation should be kept at a minimum, no accumulation of dead vegetation or other flammable debris and plants should be healthy and green during fire season.

6. Maintaining your survivable space is a continuous process. At least annually, review these survivable space steps and take action accordingly.

For more information, download Living With Fire (Adobe .pdf document).



Chemical Release:

If You See Signs of Chemical Release: Find Clean Air Quickly

a. Quickly try to define the impacted area or where the chemical is coming from, if possible.

b. Take immediate action to get away.

c. If the chemical is inside a building where you are, get out of the building without passing through the contaminated area, if possible.

d. If you can't get out of the building or find clean air without passing through the area where you see signs of a chemical release, it may be better to move as far away as possible and shelter-in-place.

e. If you are outside, quickly decide what is the fastest way to find clean air. Consider if you can get out of the area or if you should go inside the closest building and "shelter-in-place."




Every year in the United States, on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and; about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes. It is important to know what to do to protect yourself and stop the spread of the flu!

a. The most important thing you can do to prevent catching the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated. If other flu strains, like the H1N1 flu are prevalent, you will need to get a separate vaccination for this particular strain.

b. Avoid close contact with people who are sick or when you, yourself are sick with the flu.

c. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick.

d. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

e. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

f. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

g. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

For more information, visit or


Heat Sources:

Wood stoves and fireplaces are a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize their fire hazard.

a. Be sure stove or fireplace is installed properly.

b. Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.

c. Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.

d. Keep a glass or screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out.

e. Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.

f. Never burn charcoal indoors. It can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.


Winter Storm Precautions:

a. Avoid unnecessary travel before, during and after a storm.

b. If you must go outside, remember that several layers of clothes will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat.

c. Be particularly careful with portable heaters; there is danger of fire or poisonous fumes.