Winter Time Safety
 
By Firefighter/EMT/Secretary Troy Storti
January 18, 2019
 

Winter is in full swing; and with it, comes winter time dangers. Trees down, power lines down, icy road and much more affect our driving and safety while out in the community. The St. Stephens Fire Department wants to take some time and remind the citizens of not only the St. Stephens community, but the surrounding communities as well of the importance of smart decision making and safety.
Winter has heavily affected the Catawba County area, especially in the St. Stephens community, recently regarding roadways and road conditions. In the month of December 2018, the western part of North Carolina was affected by winter storm Diego, leaving anywhere from less than one inch of snow to upwards of over a foot of snow. With this kind of condition, many citizens were left stranded at home and had no means of leaving their residence. In the event of such, it is critical for residences across the state to have supplies and resources ready to shelter in place. According to Ready.gov, residences need to be self-sufficient, or able to survive on their own for at least 72 hours. To accomplish this, it is recommended that every home have a “Winter Weather Survival Kit.” Some of the items that should be included in your survival kit are:

• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Weather/portable radio
• Food and water. Remember, power may go out, buy food items that require no cooking/minimal preparation.
• Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
• First Aid supplies
• Blankets, coats, and extra cloths.
• Alternative heat/power sources such as space heaters and generators. Remember to be fire-safe and have proper ventilation!
• Child toys, board games, etc. for entertainment purposes.
• And any items that your family might need to survive as comfortably as possible.

In the event of mild winter weather, remember to use extreme caution. Just because there is nothing visible outside such as snow, does not mean that nothing has occurred. On the morning of January 13th, 2019, the St. Stephens Fire Department responded to 7 calls within a few hours of reported trees and powerlines down. This event occurred with little to no impact on road conditions, other than the trees that had fallen due to freezing rain the night before. In this event, remember to never approach or remove down powerlines or trees. Be patient if the road is completely blocked and alert the emergency services via 911 to report any powerline or trees in the roadway or that might pose a hazard. Emergency services crews will respond to your location and will do the best they can to open the roadway up or will call for the appropriate resources to re-open the road. Remember, be patient! In winter time weather, emergency services are on their way, but they may be busy with other emergency calls or may be having trouble responding to the emergency location.

Below you will find some links to information regarding winter weather safety. Feel free to contact any of the sources below directly with any questions or contact the St. Stephens Fire Department at 828-256-2375 with any questions dealing with the St. Stephens Community. Remember if you have a true emergency, call 911 directly.

 
Hyperlinks: National Weather Service
READY - US Department of Homeland Security
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
 
SSFD crews working to remove multiple trees down on Sulphur Springs Road in the early morning.
SSFD crews working to remove multiple trees down on Sulphur Springs Road in the early morning.
SSFD member cutting and removing limbs from down tree on Sulphur Springs Road.
SSFD member cutting and removing limbs from down tree on Sulphur Springs Road.
 
SSFD members utilizing chain saws to removed the down tree in pieces.
SSFD members utilizing chain saws to removed the down tree in pieces.
Large tree down at 34th Street Drive NE.
Large tree down at 34th Street Drive NE.
 
Crews were only able to remove part of the tree due to the size and location of the tree down. DOT was called to remove the rest and for clean up.
Crews were only able to remove part of the tree due to the size and location of the tree down. DOT was called to remove the rest and for clean up.
Remember to use caution when driving durning and after winter weather. Crews were only able to remove part of the tree due to the size and location of the tree down. DOT was called to remove the rest and for clean up.
Remember to use caution when driving durning and after winter weather. Crews were only able to remove part of the tree due to the size and location of the tree down. DOT was called to remove the rest and for clean up.
 
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