Winter Storm Safety

Winter storms can affect different parts of the country in many different ways. Here in Kansas, we are all too familiar with the snow and extreme cold that winter weather can bring. Below is some information on how you can stay safe when Old Man Winter comes calling.

Know your terms: (from the National Weather Service)

  • Winter weather advisories: Accumulation of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle and sleet are expected and will cause significant inconveniences;
  • Winter Storm Watch: A blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain or heavy sleet is possible in the listening area;
  • Winter Storm Warning: Hazardous winter weather - heavy snow, heavy freezing rain or heavy sleet is imminent or is occurring in the listening area;
  • Wind Chill Advisory: Wind chill temperatures are expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged exposure;
  • Wind Chill Warning: Wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure;
  • Snow Flurries: Light snow falling for short durations. No accumulations or a light dusting is expected;
  • Snow Showers: Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulations is possible;
  • Blowing Snow: Wind-driven snow (either falling snow or loose snow from the ground) that reduces visibility and causes significant drifting;
  • Blizzard Warning: Winter storm with sustained or gusting winds of 35mph or more, and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or below 1/4 of a mile, lasting for at least three hours;
  • Sleet: Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground;
  • Freezing Rain: Rain that falls onto a hard surface with a temperature below freezing.

Wind Chill Chart shows temperature and wind speed at which frostbite can set in. See wind chill calculator at bottom of page for equivalent.

Before the Storm:

  • Organize a Business Preparedness Committee (key employees that will assist in the development, implementation and maintenance of a preparedness plan for your business);
  • Create a Business Continuity Plan;
  • Review your plans periodically to make sure they meet the current needs of your business;
  • Be familiar with the above winter storm watch / warning messages;
  • Have rock salt / ice melt on hand for use on walkways;
  • Have an office disaster kit ready to go, in case you lose power;
  • Develop an emergency communications plan:

During the storm:

  • If indoors:
    • Stay indoors and dress warmly;
    • Close off any unused rooms;
    • Listen to the radio or television for the latest information;
  • If outdoors:
    • Dress warmly;
    • Wear loose-fitting, layered clothing underneath a water-repellant coat (layers can be removed to prevent perspiration and chill);
    • Wear mittens rather than gloves. Your fingers generate more warmth when they touch each other;
    • Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by covering your mouth;
    • Avoid overexertion;
    • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia;
    • Keep as dry as possible;

After the Storm:

  • Walk carefully going from the building to your vehicle. If possible, keep a pair of winter boots in your car to walk to and from your office.

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