The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are falling. Soon snow and ice will be a regular fixture in the forecast as winter approaches. Now is the perfect time to get you and your family ready for winter’s wrath by taking the steps to be prepared.
“There’s nothing more predictable than the unpredictable nature of Kansas weather,” said John Milburn, Director of Legislative and Public Affairs for the Department of Administration. “That’s why taking the time now when all is calm to prepare you and your family for the worst is important. A few simple precautions can prevent hardship should severe weather strike. No one plans to fail. They fail to plan.”
Kansans should check their emergency supplies and review their home emergency plan with every member of the family. A home emergency kit should include
everything needed for each family member to survive for a minimum of three days without power. Kits should include:
• Water: one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. This should include baby food/supplies, as well as pet food
• Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
• Flashlight: with extra batteries
• First aid kit: Include over-the-counter medications and prescriptions that would be needed
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Manual can opener
• Pillows and blankets
• Local maps
• Cell phone: with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Winter months also mean holiday traveling. Vehicles should be equipped with emergency supplies, as well, to ensure that passengers are safe in the event of hazardous weather or accidents.
A list of items to keep in vehicles includes:
• Jumper cables: might want to include flares or reflective triangle
• Flashlights: with extra batteries
• First aid kit: remember any necessary medications, baby formula and diapers if you have a small child
• Food: non-perishable food such as canned food, and protein-rich foods like nuts and energy bars
• Manual can opener
• Water: at least one gallon of water per person a day for at least three days
• Basic toolkit: pliers, wrench, screwdriver
• Pet supplies: food and water
• Radio: battery or hand-cranked
• Cat litter or sand: for better tire traction
• Ice scraper
• Clothes: warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes for the cold
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Charged cell phone: and car charger
To know the conditions before venturing out, Kansas travelers can obtain route-specific road conditions and weather by calling 5-1-1 within the state or (866) 511- 5368 from out of state. The same information and more can be obtained by visiting the KanDrive
website, which has maps and camera views of the state.
Those planning to travel during or after a storm should follow these safety tips:
• Completely clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, and lights, and use headlights to provide optimum visibility.
• Slow down, accelerate and brake gently, and increase following distance between other vehicles.
• Don’t use cruise control.
• Allow for more travel time.
• Always wear a seat belt, and secure children in the proper child safety seats.
• Slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles and maintenance crews.
• If possible, remain in your vehicle, and remain buckled up. That way if a crash would occur involving your car or another vehicle nearby, you are more protected than if you are out in the roadway or even on the shoulder.
• If involved in a traffic crash or need assistance, call 911, or contact the Kansas Highway Patrol at *47 (*HP) from a cell phone. Call *582 (*KTA) on the Kansas Turnpike.
Residents should also be asking themselves what they would do should there be an emergency or disaster that could take them out of their home for an extended period of time.
First, make a plan. Decide what you would do in case of a fire, a tornado, a flood or other emergency. How will you get out of the house? Where will family members meet to ensure that everyone is safe? How will you contact those who are not at home? Once you have the plan devised, make sure everyone knows what it is and practice it.
Remember, Kansas weather can be as unpredictable as anywhere in the United States.
A sunny, warm day can turn stormy, bringing severe thunderstorms or ice, snow and frigid temperatures with little warning.
Additional information about preparing an emergency kits or preparing your home and family to be ready for all hazards may be found online at www.ksready.gov.