Winter isn’t just around the corner—it’s hear today! Make sure your vehicle and emergency vehicle kit are ready to keep you safe and prepared.
Prepare Your Vehicle
- Install good winter tires. Make sure each tire has enough tread.
- Keep your gas tank full. A full tank keeps the fuel line from freezing, and it’s also a good idea in case you lose power.
- Batteries lose power as temperatures drop, so be sure to have yours tested.
- Have your vehicle’s antifreeze level and radiator system checked.
- Proactively replace your car’s worn wiper blades.
- To help with visibility, clean off your car entirely—including your trunk, roof, windows, and headlights.
Making sure your emergency vehicle kit is fully stocked:
- Water, non-perishable food, and an extra set of warm clothes in case you get stranded
- Jumper cables
- Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
- Car cell phone charger
- Ice scraper
- Flares or reflective triangle
For more information about winter vehicle safety, visit: www.ready.gov/car.
Live holiday trees are showing up for sale all over our region. If you purchase one for your family, please read these very important fire safety tips to ensure your family will safety enjoy your live tree.
In the video above, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrates the differences between a well-maintained ‘WATERED’ and ‘DRY’ holiday tree fires. Properly maintaining a cut tree is important to retaining a high moisture content in the branches and needles of the tree. This can help to limit ignition likelihood, fire growth rate, and peak fire size.
Holiday Tree Fire Safety Tips
The video above suggests that keeping your tree watered can reduce its fire risk. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests several steps that you can take to reduce the risk of a holiday tree fire in your home.
- Choose a healthy tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Immediately before placing a tree in its stand, cut 5 cm (2 in.) from the base of the trunk; this can help the tree to draw up water. If the cut surface is allowed to dry, it will reduce the water uptake to the tree.
- Always keep the tree well-watered. Make sure to check the water level in the stand daily.
- Make sure that the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source (e.g. space heaters, candles, fireplaces, heat vents, or lights).
- Make sure that the tree does not block an exit.
- Only use decorative lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Make sure light bulbs, strings, and connections are not broken or damaged in any way.
- Always turn off tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Get rid of the tree after the holiday or when it is dry and keep it away from your home/garage. Of the ten days with the largest shares of holiday tree fires, none were before Christmas.
For more detailed information, please visit: https://www.nist.gov/el/fire-research-division-73300/national-fire-research-laboratory-73306/holiday-fire-safety.
Halloween is a fun and spooky time of year. Whether you are participating in Halloween parties or preparing your kids to go out trick or treating, keep in mind the following safety tips to ensure you have a spooky – but safe – Halloween.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper catch fire easily. Same with decorative spider webs and other decorations. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
- When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.
- Remember to keep pathways and exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks exit routes.
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution.
- Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
- Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.
For more information, you can visit the National Fire Protection Association.
In the final daily September Preparedness Month blog post, we conclude with a video message from Virginia Ralph Northam.
Every year, the Northern Virginia region experiences a varying degree of heavy rains and strong winds from storms, tropical storms, and even hurricanes. The storm’s high winds may even spawn tornadoes—like we saw when the remanence of Hurricane Florence traveled through Richmond, Virginia a few weeks ago.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. We still have a long way to go until this year’s hurricane season is over!
Please review the Virginia Hurricane Preparedness Guide as well as additional resources on the website including: how to build an emergency kit, and tornado and flood preparedness. It is important to prepare your family, home, and office before a storm arrives.
Who thought we would talk about earthquake preparedness on the east coast?The 2011 Louisa Quake in Virginia was felt across more than a dozen states and by more people than any other earthquake in U.S. history. An estimated 1/3 of the U.S. population felt the quake, and damage was reported as far away as Brooklyn, New York!
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management provides an Earthquake Preparedness Guide that provides great tips for before, during, and after an earthquake. Take a few minutes to download the guide and be prepared!