It’s time to get ready for the winter. It’s Winter Preparedness Month in the state. With parts of the region expecting some snowfall today it’s best to get things in order in case of a power outage, getting stranded on the highway, or simply being ready for Mother Nature’s wintry wrath. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois Department of Laborand the National Weather Service (NWS) areencouraging people to begin preparing now for extreme cold, snow and ice.
IEMA Communications Manager Rebecca Clark says its crucial to be ready now. She reminds homeowners to change their furnace filters, to have plenty of food for every household member for at least 3 days, and to have batteries for flashlight as well as spare battery chargers for cellphones.
Clark say motorists also need to have a kit in case they get stranded on the highway. She says motorists need to always have their cellphone batteries charged or a cellphone charger with them during inclement winter weather, extra blankets, an extra layer of clothing as well as stocking caps, scarfs and gloves, an ice scraper, and salt in case of getting stuck on the highway.
Clark says homeowners need to use their heating appliances wisely. She reminds homeowners to have their chimney flue checked prior to cold weather and ensure that it is properly protected in the house. Clark also reminds homeowners to properly use space heaters by unplugging them when no one is home and to keep them away from flammable materials like curtains, bedding, and paper while in use.
From 2008-2018,there were 788 fatalities related to cold temperatures in Illinois. Hypothermia begins to occur when a person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees and can occur both inside and outdoors. Chest pains from shoveling snow and frost bite are also common weather health concerns, as well. The Weathering Winter guide from the Illinois Department of Public Health and IEMA, again, can be found on Ready.Illinois.gov.