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Safety Tips - Snow & Winter Storms

Snow

Flurries:

Light snow falling for short durations.  No accumulation or light dusting is all that is expected.

Showers:

Snow falling in varying intensities for brief periods of time.  Some accumulation is possible.

Squalls:

Brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds.  Accumulation may be significant.  Show squalls are best known in the Great Lakes region.

Blowing snow:

Wind-driven snow that reduces visibility and causes significant drifting.  Blowing snow may be snow that is falling and/or loose snow on the ground picked up by the wind.

Blizzard:

Winds over 35 mph with snow and 8" or more of blowing snow reducing visibility to near zero.


Sleet:

Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground.  Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects.  However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists.


Freezing Rain:

Rain that falls onto a surface with a temperature below freezing.  This causes it to freeze to surfaces, such as trees, cars, and roads, forming a coating or glaze of ice.  Even small accumulations of ice can cause a significant hazard.


HYPOTHERMIA:  Low Body Temperature

Warning signs:  Uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.

Detection:  Take the person's temperature.  If below 95 degrees, immediately seek medical care!  If medical care is not available, begin warming the person slowly.  Warm the body core first.  If needed, use your own body heat to help.  Get the person into dry clothing, and wrap them in a warm blanket covering the head and neck.  Do not five the person alcohol, drugs, coffee, or any hot beverage or food; warm broth is better.  Do not warm extremities (arms and legs) first!  This drives the clod blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure.

When a person is suffering from hypothermia, the extremities are cold (blue).


Winter Storms

In many areas of the country, winters bring heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures. Heavy snow can block roads and cause power lines to fall down. The cold temperatures can be dangerous if you are not dressed correctly. Here are some tips to help you be prepared for the winter storms.

  • Assemble emergency supplies.
  • Winterize your vehicle.
  • Monitor Local TV/radio stations for weather updates.
  • Prepare for isolation at home.
  • Dress in layers of clothing.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Avoid driving if possible.
  • Assemble an emergency kit for each vehicle, include a flashlight, shovel, tow chain, blanket, sand/salt, and flares.
  • If  you become trapped in a vehicle, stay there unless shelter is in sight.
  • If you remain in your vehicle, run the engine periodically to keep warm, and slightly open a window for ventilation.

Outside

Find Shelter:

  • Try to stay dry.
  • Cover all exposed parts of the body.
  • A person with a body temperature of <95 degrees is suffering from HYPOTHERMIA.  See a doctor.

No Shelter:

  • Prepare a lean-to, wind-break, or snow cave for protection from the wind.
  • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
  • Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • DO NOT EAT SNOW.  It will lower your body temperature.  Melt it first.

In a Car or Truck

Stay in your car or truck:

Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven show and cold.  (A Vehicle is easier to find than YOU) 

  • Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat.
  • Open the window on the downwind side a little to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Make yourself visible to rescuers:

  • Turn on the dome light at night when running engine.
  • Tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.
  • Raise the hood indicating trouble after snow stops falling.

Exercise:

From time to time vigorously move arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

At Home or in a Building

Stay inside:

When using ALTERNATIVE HEAT from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc:

  • Use fire safeguards.
  • Properly ventilate.

No Heat:

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

Eat and Drink:

Food provides the body with the energy for producing its own heat.  Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.

Clothing:

Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing.  Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration, and subsequent chill.

Visit the Colorado Division of Emergency Management website for additional safety tips.

 

    Main Office:
    909 Court Street
    Pueblo, CO  81003
    719.583.6125 
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Pueblo County Sheriff's Office