Stay put, stay safe: Experts advise having emergency kit, power outage, and snow cleanup plan for Monday’s snowstorm

Extreme Weather

CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — With about a foot of snow and strong winds expected across the state Monday, preparation is key.

Experts say it’s best that you are stock-up on essentials and have an emergency kit ready to go.

“What you should have in your emergency kit are items that will keep you and your family safe these next few days, should you stay in your house,” Jocelyn Hillard with the American Red Cross said. “Items might include a first aid kit, medication, band-aids, water, food.”

That’s not all you can do.

Once the storm hits, you’re being encouraged to stay home – if possible. With fewer people out and about, it makes it easier for crews to tackle the roads and clean up.

“It’s very important that you do have warm clothes and blankets available in your house and that you’re checking on relatives, neighbors, family friends, anyone you think might need a call as we prepare for this storm,” Hillard added.

RELATED: Medical providers suspend COVID-19 testing, vaccine clinics ahead of expected snowstorm

If you have to go outside, take precautions.

“Make sure you’re preparing yourself. You’re wearing warm clothes, hats, mittens, and that you aren’t overexerting yourself if you’re shoveling or walking through deep snow.”

Power outage safety

In a statement Sunday afternoon, Eversource said it is ready to respond to any outage needs that come up as a result of the first major winter storm of 2021.

“It’s all-hands-on-desk and we’re waiting to see what Mother Nature delivers,” Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross told News 8. “We will adapt accordingly, everything from the snow to the wind, moving our trucks around to where they are needed.”

Eversource reminds customers that with heavy snow and high winds expected, outages are possible.

Eversource urges customers to always stay clear of downed wires and to report them immediately to 911. Be sure to report any outage online at www.eversource.com, or by calling (800) 286-2000. Customers who signed up for the company’s two-way texting feature can send a text to report an outage and receive outage updates as they happen.  

They encourage patience as power restoration during and following a storm – in addition to COVID safety protocols – takes time.

If you do lose power, there are ways to conserve heat in your home.

The National Weather Service recommends closing blinds and curtains to keep heat from escaping at the windows, close off rooms and put towels at bottom of doors to avoid wasting heat, wear layers, and eat and drink (food provides energy to warm the body).

Monday, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) warned residents of “the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from malfunctioning furnaces and improper use of fuel-burning equipment.”

“Every winter in Connecticut,” DPH officials note, “hundreds of residents are taken to emergency departments and some are hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from faulty furnaces, improperly placed portable generators, and indoor use of charcoal grills, especially in the event of a power outage. Carbon monoxide exposure is potentially deadly.”

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that forms when fuels like
gasoline, natural gas, propane, wood, charcoal, and kerosene do not burn
completely.

Breathing carbon monoxide can deprive the body of oxygen, and may lead
to illness, unconsciousness, and death.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

  • Headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, and loss of
    consciousness.
  • If several members of a household experience these symptoms when they are
    home, but feel better when they are away from the home, there may be a
    carbon monoxide problem.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

  • Get out of the house immediately and seek medical help if you or a family
    member or guest has unexplained/sudden onset of symptoms of carbon
    monoxide poisoning.
  • Call 911 from a cell phone or neighbor’s home and the Connecticut Poison
    Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Pet safety

  • As temperatures drop, make sure to bring your pets inside. If it’s cold for you, it’s cold for them!
  • Salt on the roads can be harsh on the pads of dogs’ feet, so make sure to protect their feet with booties or wipe their paws with a towel when they come back inside after a walk.
  • Cover dogs with coats, especially short-haired dogs.
  • In the case of an accidental coolant spill, keep your pets away from the chemicals. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, call an emergency animal hospital or poison control.
  • Some strays might look for warm spots under the hood of your car, so look before you leave.

It is illegal to leave your dog tied up for more than 15 minutes when a weather advisory has been issued. If you see an animal left outside or in distress, contact your local animal control officer or police department.

RELATED: Protecting your pets as temps drop below freezing in the state

Clean up safety

The National Weather Service warns that shoveling heavy, wet snow can put a strain on the heart. They recommend staying hydrated and taking frequent breaks.

If the snow is heavy, take small shovel-fulls at a time.

Snow Blower Safety

Doctors say they see a lot of snow blower-related injuries during the first few big storms of the season. A reminder that just because the snowblower is off, does not mean you can stick your hand in to clear out any debris.

“What happens is, you can get really thick snow or ice or rocks stuck within the blades and so when the blades stop, they have built up torque within them. So even if the snowblower is off and unplugged, you put your hand in there to clear out some of that debris, those blades will keep going with that release torque and can do a massive amount of damage to a hand,” Yale Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon Andrea Halim.

She also says wrist, forearm, and elbow fractures are common during storms because of slip and falls. You should wear boots with good tread when you go outside to clear the snow.

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