Despite winter’s early arrival across the state and nation, if this is a typical Kansas winter much more severe winter weather, including accumulating, drifting snow and icy conditions, is ahead of us.
The National Weather Service, in conjunction with Kansas Division of Emergency Management, select a day each fall to remind Kansans of the potential hazards associated with winter weather. That day is December 1. State agencies are taking the opportunity to encourage Kansans to prepare for another Kansas winter if the recent cold weather hasn’t already prompted them to do so.
“As we’ve already seen, the temperature can drop quickly,” said Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. “We don’t know exactly what this winter has in store for us, so it’s best to be prepared. Now is the time to check your home and vehicle emergency kits and replenish any outdated supplies.”
Road travel is discouraged during extreme storm situations; however, if you must travel in those conditions the Kansas Highway Patrol encourages taking extra precautions to keep yourself and your family safe.
“Keep at least a half a tank of gas in your car at all times in case you get stranded or stuck in traffic,” said Col. Ernest Garcia, Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent. “Arrange your travel plans so you can leave well ahead of bad weather and keep an emergency kit in your car.”
Recommended items to include in your vehicle:
• Windshield scraper and small broom
• Battery powered radio
• Extra batteries
• Snack food
• Extra hats, socks and mittens
• First aid kit with pocket knife
• Necessary medications
• Tow chain or rope
• Road salt and sand
• Booster cables
• Emergency flares
• Fluorescent distress flag
Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol at www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/press/news_info/winter_drive.html You can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at www.kansashighwaypatrol.org.
If you must travel when winter road conditions are deteriorating, then plan ahead to get the latest road information from the Kansas Department of Transportation.
“If you must travel, be sure you know road conditions before you leave by calling 5-1-1 or visiting the Kandrive website at kandrive.org. And give the snow plows plenty of room to work,” said Mike King, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation.
To find information on road conditions when not in the state, call 1-866-511-5368.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment encourages Kansans to plan ahead and dress appropriately for bitterly cold weather and to know the warning signs of hypothermia.
“Weather conditions in Kansas can change quickly, so it’s important to have warm clothing, and extra layers ready, and if you have to stay outside on bitterly cold days, make plans to get inside to warm up on a regular basis,” said Dr. Robert Moser, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “Taking regular breaks from working outdoors in the cold can also help prevent injuries.”
For a complete list of items for a home or car emergency kit, go to www.ksready.gov. Additional information on preparing for winter weather is available from FEMA at www.fema.gov, the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org, or your county emergency management office.
More information about staying safe in winter weather is also available at www.kdheks.gov/beh/download/winter_weather_safety.pdf