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Winter Weather Week arrives

BEMIDJI -- This week is Winter Hazard Awareness Week and the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management is taking part in a public safety campaign to highlight winter safety.

BEMIDJI -- This week is Winter Hazard Awareness Week and the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management is taking part in a public safety campaign to highlight winter safety.

In cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the National Weather Service, each day this week has a theme related to winter safety, according to a release from the Emergency Management division.

  • Monday’s topic was winter storms. The area experiences a wide variety of winter weather, from heavy snowfall, blizzards and extreme cold conditions. The weather service provides forecasts and is responsible for issuing winter weather warnings. Winter weather advisories and winter storm watches and warnings provide advance notice of weather that can impact travel and public safety. Forecasts and warning information can be found at www.weather.gov/fgf for the Grand Forks office or www.weather.gov/dlh for the Duluth office.

  • Tuesday’s topic is outdoor winter safety. A danger during the entire winter season is thin ice. Never go on area lakes and rivers without first checking with locals or bait shops with ice thickness and quality. Early and late in the winter season many vehicles fall through the ice, endangering the occupants and making for difficult rescues. At least 4 inches of new clear ice is recommended for walking on ice and a foot of ice for small vehicles. If you are out enjoying winter weather, make sure you have appropriate clothing to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Snow shoveling can be a daunting task, lift with your legs and not your back. Assist those with access and functional needs, pre-plan before a winter storm makes travel difficult.

  • Wednesday’s topic is winter fire safety. There is an increase in home fires as we approach the winter season. Factors included in the increase are home heating practices as well as holiday traditions such as candles and decorations. Make sure your furnace is functioning properly and chimneys are clean and clear. Never use alternative heat sources such as a stove or cooking grill. Don’t overload your electrical outlets with excessive holiday lights and keep combustible materials away from ignition sources.

  • Thursday’s topic is indoor winter safety. Sometimes our homes, which are designed to keep us safe, put us in danger. Make sure to have your heating sources checked annually and performing properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning kills people every year and is the result of improper burning of fuels in heating sources or motors. Make sure to have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the home. Mold, radon and chemical exposures also increase in the winter as housed are sealed to keep out the cold.

  • Friday’s topic is winter driving. Make sure to have preventative service done on your vehicle to ensure it is reliable during winter weather. Travel with a winter survival kit in the vehicle and call your destination before and let someone know your travel itinerary and route. Travel with a cellphone and charger so you can call for help and know your location. Listen to travel advisories and delay your travel if appropriate. There were 72 accidents involving plows last season, a release said; snowplows weigh about 15 times more than a car. Keep an eye out on the highways for different types of plows. Plows can be equipped with wing blades, under body blades, front blades and even a tow plow.

For more information, visit the emergency management division’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/beltramicountyemergencymanagement for additional information posted each day during Winter Hazard Awareness Week 2015 and see examples of a winter survival kit.

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