HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ)– Winter storms are dangerous, and with the upcoming one expecting to hit the PA region, residents are to be reminded to stay safe and prepared.

Winter storms can cause power outages, car accidents, hypothermia if the skin is exposed for a certain amount of time and more. Residents are urged to be alert for weather reports and warnings and as well to stay off the road. Here are some safety tips provided from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s website to follow.

Snow safety :

  • Check your route before you go
  • Stay up-to-date on road clearing with the plow truck tracker on 511PA’s website
  • Try to travel during the day and stay on main roads
  • Make sure your cellphone is fully charged
  • Have an emergecy supply kit in your vehicle.
  • Prepare for power outages
  • Check on your neighbors, especially older adults
  • Use caution and do not overxert yourself when shoveling snow
  • Wear layers  of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing
  • Use extreme caution when using alternative heating sources

In the chance that you get stuck in your car while traveling remember these tips as well:

  • Pull off the highway, turn on hazard lights, and hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window
  • Remain in your vehicle. Don’t set out on foot unless you can see a building close by.
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour
  • Huddle with other passengers and use your coat for a blanket
  • Take turns sleeping; one person needs to be awake at all times to look for rescue crews
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration

Home heating:

If you have/lose heat during the snowstorm keep these tips in mind;

  • Close off unneeded rooms
  • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors
  • Cover windows at night

Be aware of frostbite and hypothermia:

Frostbite

Frostbite happens when the temperature reaches below 31 degrees and the skin or tissue starts to freeze up. Here are signs of frostbite to be aware of:

  • Loss of feeling in extremities
  • Pale appearance of extremities

Hypothermia

Hypothermia happens when your body temperature drops below 95 degrees and loses heat because of the freezing cold temperatures. Keep an eye out for these signs:

  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Memory loss
  • Disorientation
  • Incoherence
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Apparent exhaustion

If you start to notice signs of hypothermia here is what you should do:

  • Get the victim to a warm location
  • Remove wet clothing
  • Put on dry clothing and wrap body in blanket
  • Warm center of body first
  • Give warm beverages if the victim is conscious (avoid alcohol/caffeine)
  • Get medical help as soon as possible

For additional information on how you can stay safe during a winter storm, you can visit Ready PA’s website. For winter travel information, motorists can visit 511PA or the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) website.

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