Advice for after the storm
Once a winter storm has passed, there are still many additional challenges to be faced, from snow removal to power restoration.
But if you have “taken the proper precautions, remain cautious and careful, you and your family are more likely to experience a successful outcome,” according to Mass. Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz.
Be careful when shoveling snow. Over-exertion can bring on a heart attack — a major cause of death in the winter, he said.
Other tips, he offered as Storm Nemo was bearing down on New England Thursday:
∎ Protect yourself by dressing for the season, wearing several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
∎ Mittens are better than gloves.
∎ Wear a hat, as most body heat is lost through the top of the head.
∎ Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
∎ Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in the extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
∎ Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms are detected, get medical help, as soon as possible.
∎ Do not become a “spectator.” Continue to stay off streets and roads to allow plowing and cleanup operations to proceed smoothly.
∎ Help dig out fire hydrants and storm drains in your neighborhood.
∎ Avoid parking too closely to corners, allowing plows to maneuver safely.
∎ Be aware of children playing in the streets, particularly climbing on or running out from behind large snowdrifts. Parents should remind their children to be aware of plowing operations and traffic.
∎ Clear exhaust vents from Direct Vent Gas Furnace Systems to avoid Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning
∎ Never run an automobile until exhaust pipe has been cleared of snow.
∎ Safely reduce the amount of snow on roofs. The stress caused by heavy wet snow can challenge the integrity of the structure.
∎ Assume a downed wire is a live wire.
∎ Make sure emergency generators or secondary heating systems are well ventilated.
∎ To protect against possible voltage irregularities that can occur when power is restored, you should unplug all sensitive electronic equipment.
∎ If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
∎ If pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they are most exposed to the cold. A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution, also works well.