Winter Weather Preparedness Tips
Columbia County EMA, along with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency’s Ready Georgia campaign, is using December 3 -7 to encourage citizens to prepare for possible inclement weather emergencies this winter.
Winter Weather Preparedness Week is a great time for Columbia County residents and businesses to prepare for all potential winter hazards. Since winter weather can be unpredictable, we’re providing this information on winter weather preparation to help residents plan properly.
Winter Weather Preparedness Week, from December 3-7, was created to raise awareness of winter weather hazards and reinforce understanding of winter weather terminology. Throughout the week, Columbia County EMA and GEMA/HS will provide information to assist Georgians in preparing for winter weather.
Now is the time to prep for possible snow, ice or freezing temps in the months ahead. Winter storms often bring dangerously low temperatures, strong winds, snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain. With temperatures currently near freezing, and dipping into single digits at night, it’s important to take steps to protect your property and health.
- Protect the three p’s: people, pets and plants.
- Wear layers of clothing.
- Wear gloves, mittens and hats; cover your mouth with a scarf.
- Ensure children are properly dressed, especially as they wait for the school bus.
- Bring pets indoors. Animals are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia.
- Bring potted plants indoors. Cover outdoor plants with cloth, burlap or plastic at night to prevent roots from freezing.
- Make sure your home and vehicle are ready.
- Have a backup for your electrical power as freezing temperatures create a heavy demand for electricity. If you use a generator, be sure to use it outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
- Allow indoor plumbing fixtures to drip; this prevents freezing by permitting water to trickle through the pipes.
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank and antifreeze full to prevent ice from forming in the tank and fuel lines.
Winter Weather Terminology
Winter Storm Watch: Typically issued 12 to 48 hours before the possibility of winter weather. A winter storm watch means significant winter weather (snow, sleet, freezing rain, or a combination of these events) is possible but not imminent. Make sure you have emergency supplies at home and in your vehicle. Pay close attention to forecasts and the specific type of winter weather that is likely.
Winter Weather Advisory: Typically issued up to 36 hours before a weather event with 80 percent or greater chance of winter precipitation. A winter weather advisory means winter weather is imminent and may cause inconveniences. Put your winter safety plan into action; monitor local media for expected impacts; and avoid unnecessary travel.
Winter Storm Warning: Typically issued up to 36 hours before a weather event with 80 percent or greater chance of significant winter precipitation. A winter storm warning means a significant winter storm is imminent and is a dangerous threat to life and property. Put your winter safety plan into action; monitor local media for expected impacts; and avoid unnecessary travel.
Preparation Tips: Make a Ready Kit
Whether you are on the roads or at home, we encourage you to be safe and have a Ready kit handy if the power goes out.
- Water: One gallon per person per day, for at least 3 days, for drinking and hygiene.
- Food: At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Can opener: For food, if kit contains canned food.
- Radio: Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both.
- Emergency charger for mobile devices
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle: To signal for help
- Face mask: To help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties. For personal hygiene
- Wrench or pliers. To turn off utilities
- Local maps
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food, extra water, pet supplies, toys and vaccination forms.
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider adding bedding in cold weather.
- Complete change of clothing. Include a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider adding clothing in cold weather.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, plastic utensils and paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
Driving Safety Tips
Things can get dangerous behind the wheel when driving in a winter storm. Do you know what to do while driving in the snow or ice? Or even what to have in your car’s Ready kit? Be cautious, minimize your travel and postpone non-essential trips.
Mobile Ready Kit
- Portable Cell Phone Charger
- First Aid Kit
- Food and Bottled Water
- Ice Scraper
- Flashlight and Batteries
- Jumper Cables
- Sand or Cat Litter for Traction
Holiday Safety Tips
Columbia County EMA would like to share with you some helpful tips this holiday season as you decorate, prepare for guests, and travel to see loved ones from Ready.gov.
- Talk with family about who to call, where to meet and what to pack for an emergency this holiday season.
- If you’re traveling by plane for the holidays, review TSA's security screening tips.
- If you’re packing for a flight, consider a small emergency kit: flashlight, batteries, & spare USB power bank.
- On the road this winter? Fill out an emergency communications plan card and let your in case of emergency contact know your plan.
- For Safe Travels with family over the holidays, remember to include emergency items for kids when you pack.
- Pet travel tip: Are you taking your pets with you for the holidays? Add a few emergency items for your pets, like water and food.Pack something familiar like a toy or blanket to help alleviate stress.
- Traveling by car? Remember to pack an emergency supply kit.
Holiday Cooking Tips
- Nearly 60% of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle.
- Make sure to have working smoke alarms close to where anyone may be sleeping
- Keep candles 12 inches away from things that can burn throughout the holiday season.
- Turn your holiday lights off before leaving home or going to bed. Every. Single. Time.
- Remember during the holidays, don't overload extension cords.
- Check the water and unplug lights on your Christmas tree before you go to bed. A dry tree is more flammable.
- Water your Christmas tree every day. A dry tree is dangerous because it can catch on fire easily.
- Keep your Christmas tree at least 3 feet away from heat sources.
- Consider using flameless candles during Kwanzaa or Hanukkah celebrations.
- Hanging holiday lights can be a fun family activity. Stay safe by avoiding potential fire dangers.
- See what happens to a dry Christmas tree that catches fire vs. a tree that has been regularly watered by watching this video.
- While family is together celebrating the holidays decide on an emergency safe meeting place.
- Give the gift of communication this holiday with Family Emergency Communication Plan wallet cards.
- Today, talk to your family over the dinner table about where to meet during an emergency!
- Give the gift of emergency preparedness. Teach kids what do before, during, and after a disaster. Download the curriculum to start planning.