Mon. May 27th, 2024


State EMA Teaming Up With NWS To Promote Weather Awareness

The State Emergency Management Agency is teaming up with the National Weather Service to promote winter weather preparedness.

During the week, next Monday through Friday, the goal of the preparedness week is to spread awareness about how to keep yourself safe during inclement weather with a different theme for each day of the week.

Monday will focus on winter weather terminology. Tuesday will focus on Ice Safety. Wednesday will focus on snow safety. Thursday will focus on extreme cold, hypothermia and frostbite. And Friday will focus on planning for snow, ice and cold.

Several tips to help Missourians navigate during winter and winter weather can be found below:


Winter Weather:

To help Missourians prepare and stay safe during the winter months, the National Weather Service (NWS) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) are partnering to promote Nov. 6 – 10, 2023, as Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Missouri.

“Being prepared is the best way to protect yourself and your families during the winter months. We encourage all Missourians to take this time to plan ahead and prioritize safety,” SEMA Director Jim Remillard said. “Have an emergency kit in your vehicle, commit to avoiding travel during inclement weather, understand the risks of prolonged exposure to the cold, and review additional steps you can take to ensure a safe and healthy winter season – both at home and on the road.”

SEMA and NWS Forecast Offices serving Missouri will be sharing winter weather safety messaging via social media throughout the week. Each day will focus on a different theme:

  • Monday, Nov. 6 – Winter Weather Terminology
  • Tuesday, Nov. 7 – Ice Safety
  • Wednesday, Nov. 8 – Snow Safety
  • Thursday, Nov. 9 – Extreme Cold, Hypothermia and Frostbite
  • Friday, Nov. 10 – Planning for Snow, Ice and Cold

Often, too little attention is paid to the danger posed by prolonged exposure to the cold. According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, 52 people died in Missouri as a result of low body temperatures due to prolonged exposure to cold weather in 2022.

Protect against frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting clothing in several layers. Avoid alcohol, limit time spent outdoors in frigid temperatures and stay indoors if possible. Find more information on hypothermia and nearby warming center locations on the DHSS website at health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/hypothermia/.

Road safety is also a concern during the winter months. According to preliminary results provided by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there were more than 7,500 vehicle crashes in Missouri in 2022 in which snow, sleet, hail or ice were factors, which resulted in 1,969 injuries and 51 deaths.

Even if not directly involved in a crash, an accident blocking the roadway could cause other drivers to be stranded for hours. Avoiding non-essential travel during winter storms is one of the best ways to reduce the chance of becoming stranded or involved in a crash. It also allows snow removal crews to clear the roads faster and first responders to get to crashes more quickly.

Missourians should also consider these winter weather preparedness tips:

  • Create a family emergency plan and emergency kit. Emergency supplies should include bottled water, canned and dry foods, battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, manual can opener and a first-aid kit. When power outages are possible, charge cell phones and other devices in advance so you are able to communicate if power is lost.
  • Assemble a vehicle winter emergency kit. Include a blanket, radio/spare batteries, snacks/energy bars, jumper cables, flares and a shovel/sand or shingles for tire traction.
  • Avoid driving when conditions could deteriorate. Postpone travel if possible. If driving is absolutely necessary, keep your gas tank more than half full and your cell phone charged. Save emergency numbers for fast dialing. Check road conditions in advance on the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Traveler Map at traveler.modot.org/map/. Allow extra time, expect delays, reduce speed and increase following distance. If your vehicle breaks down or slides off the road, stay in the vehicle and call for help.
  • Make sure alternate heat and power sources such as fireplaces, woodstoves, kerosene heaters and generators function properly. These sources can be dangerous and must be regularly maintained and operated. Keep the correct fuel for each source on hand in a safe location. Proper ventilation is essential. Properly install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Only operate generators outdoors.
  • Remember space heaters are potentially deadly when misused. Space heaters account for approximately one-third of home heating fires and 80 percent of home heating fire deaths. Supplemental heating sources like these should be turned off when leaving a room or going to bed. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from heating equipment.

For more winter weather preparedness tips, including safe driving techniques and avoiding injury while shoveling, please visit mo.gov/winter-weather-safety/.

Reporter Mike Anthony