Executive Fiala and Red Cross Urge Everyone to Prepare for Winter

BINGHAMTON, NY - Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala today proclaimed October 29 through November 4 as Winter Preparedness Week in Broome County and urged residents to begin preparing now for the upcoming season.

“It’s never too early to think safety. The calendar may say winter begins on December 21, but any New Yorker will tell you it comes much earlier. That’s why it makes sense to prepare for it now,” said Executive Fiala. “I urge residents to prepare their families and their property for the winter months ahead by taking some simple, common-sense steps today.”

Fiala said the first step residents can take is to be aware of local weather conditions by listening to broadcasts of NOAA Weather Radio, the National Weather Service, and local television and radio stations.

Noting that safety begins at home, Brett Chellis, Broome County Emergency Services Director, urged residents to give their homes a safety check. “Have a professional check out your furnace, woodstove and chimney. Make certain they are in good working condition. And don’t forget to replace the batteries in your smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors.”

Cindy Gordineer, Executive Director of the Southern Tier Chapter of the American Red Cross, also reminds residents to make sure their vehicles are ready for the season as well. “Have a mechanic check your battery, anti-freeze, wipers and thermostat,” she said. “Make sure your tires will deliver the traction which you’ll need in the snow. And make sure you have emergency supplies aboard such as a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, tire chains and booster cables.”

“Most importantly, motorists should drive with extreme care during the winter,” Gordineer said. “When severe weather is forecast, stay at home unless you absolutely have to drive. If you must go out, plan your stops, clean the vehicle completely of snow and ice, and always match your speed to road conditions.”

Another primary concern during the winter months is the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service and a resulting shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day.

The following is a list of items all residents and businesses should have available:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Battery-powered portable radio or television or a NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information. Have extra batteries. The radio will allow you to listen to weather forecasts, information, and other emergency broadcasts by local authorities.
  • Three days’ supply of food. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best. Also stock an emergency supply of bottled water one gallon per person per day.
  • A one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items.
  • First aid kit and supplies.
  • Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
  • Fire extinguisher and smoke detector. Test units regularly to ensure they are working properly.
  • Heating fuel. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a severe winter storm. Since most furnaces are controlled by electric thermostats, if the power goes out, residents should have some kind of emergency heating equipment and fuel available to keep at least one room of the house warm enough to be livable. Never operate a generator indoors.
    Common examples of emergency heating equipment are kerosene heaters or a supply of wood if you have a fireplace or woodstove. Learn to use equipment properly to prevent a fire. Have proper ventilation. If necessary, conserve fuel by keeping the house cooler than usual, or by “closing off” some rooms temporarily.

Executive Fiala reminds everyone that “winter is especially challenging for the elderly and physically handicapped. Take the time to check in on your neighbor and lend them a helping hand.”