The Washington Times-Herald

December 18, 2013

Here area a few ways to stay prepared for winter storms


The Washington Times-Herald

---- — Greetings Daviess County. What a crazy last few weeks we have had. Tornadoes to lots of snow and ice. That’s some wild Indiana weather for you. The holidays are fast approaching and I hope each and every one of you take some time to spend with family and friends this holiday season. I would like to share with you some tips for winter weather and some holiday food safety tips. May you have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year….until next time stay warm and safe.

10 Things to Prepare for Winter Storms

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Purdue University’s Extension Disaster Education Network are encouraging everyone to take preventive measures to ensure their safety and reduce the risk of winter storm damage. They offer the following ten tips on how to prepare yourself, your home, and your family for the upcoming winter weather.

1. Assemble a disaster supply kit. Store drinking water, canned/no-cook food, non-electric can opener, first aid kit, battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries where you can get them easily, even in the dark. Also include winter specific items such as rock salt, sand and other snow removal equipment.

2. Prepare for the possibility that you will need to stay in your home for several days after a winter storm. Make sure that you have sufficient heating fuel as well as emergency heating equipment in case electricity is cut off.

3. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.

4. Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends and neighbors or employees.

5. Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes and always refuel outside. Keep all heaters at least three feet from flammable objects.

6. Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water-repellent. Wear a hat, mittens and sturdy, waterproof boots. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.

7. Keep cars and other vehicles fueled and in good repair. Winterize your car by checking your car battery, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashers, exhaust, heater, brakes, defroster and tires. Ensure that your car has adequate antifreeze, windshield washer fluid and oil and check regularly throughout the season.

8. If traveling by car during a winter weather advisory or winter storm watch, do so in daylight, don’t travel alone, keep others informed of your schedule and route, and stay on main roads. Avoid driving during a winter storm warning or blizzard warning.

9. Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.

10. Know the terms used by weather forecasters so that you clearly understand the risk to your family and your community, including:

a. Winter weather advisory — Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists;

b. Winter storm watch — Be alert, a storm is possible;

c. Winter storm warning — Take action, the storm is occurring or will soon occur in the area;

d. Blizzard warning — Snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill - seek refuge immediately;

e. Frost/freeze warning — Below freezing temperatures are expected.

Purdue Extension provides educational opportunities for all people in communities across

Indiana. That education is based on university expertise applied to locally identified issues.

For more information, contact your Purdue Extension County Office. Or go to the Web at:

www.ces.purdue.edu/eden.

Holiday Food Safety Tips

BUFFETS

Buffets are a popular way to celebrate holidays with family and friends. This type of food service, where foods are left out for long periods, leaves the door open for uninvited guests bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Festive times for giving and sharing should not include sharing foodborne illness. Party Crasher Clostridium perfringens. “Perfringens” is called the “cafeteria germ” because perfringens may be found in foods served in large quantities. The bacteria (germs) grow when the food is left for more than 2 hours at room temperature.

To prevent problems with this bacteria growing in your food:

• Keep cooked foods hot (140F or higher).

• Use chafing dishes, slow cookers and warming trays to keep foods hot on your buffet table.

• Keep cold foods at 400F or colder.

• Keep foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice OR use small serving trays and replace them often.

• Cool foods quickly in your refrigerator.

• Divide large portions of cooked foods into smaller portions to cool quickly in your refrigerator.

Bacteria can also multiply quickly in moist desserts that contain dairy products. Keep eggnog, cheesecakes, cream pies and cakes with whipped cream or cream cheese frostings refrigerated until serving time.