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3 ways to stay safe before a winter storm

As the winter storm makes its way closer to the Triad, some first responders offer tips to make sure you're prepared.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — As the winter storm gets closer and closer to the Triad, it’s important to prepare now so you don’t find yourself in a bad situation come Sunday.

Sunday could bring lots of different weather events our way including snow, sleet, and maybe even some freezing rain. So, in order to stay prepared and safe, WFMY News 2's Amber Lake put together some important tips to keep in mind. Here are three things you should always think about before a winter storm hits. 

1. THINK POWER OUTAGES 

First off, there’s always a possibility for power outages so make sure your phones, laptops, and tablets are fully charged. You can even take it a step further and get a chargeable battery pack and have that fully charged just in case your phone dies. The Gibsonville Fire Department said not only will it keep you weather aware and able to contact family friends, but it could also be helpful if you need emergency assistance.

Another thing to keep in mind if your power is out is to not open your fridge. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed and a full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours.

"Be prepared ahead of time. You should know that you’re going to stay at home on Sunday if that’s when it hits and that you should be prepared to have enough supplies to stay there for 72 hours at least,” Chief James Todd with the Gibsonville Fire Department explained.

Now that you know how to keep your food cold, how do you keep your home warm without power?  

2. THINK KEEPING WARM

If the power goes out, you will want to stay in one room of your home as much as possible. Body heat will help keep the room warm if you keep the door closed.

If you plan on using candles, stove, fireplace, space heater, be extremely careful. The Gibsonville Fire Department suggests getting a carbon monoxide detector in your home even if you're using a wood stove or fireplace. 

3. THINK WINTER DRIVING SAFETY 

People are asked not to drive when there’s winter weather. But here are some tips if you have to get out and about.

Before starting out, never pour water on your windshield to get rid of snow or ice because it could crack it. Instead, use an ice-scraper.

If the roads are slippery, drive slow and take your time. AAA says to press the gas lightly to regain traction if you’ve lost it. They also say that it takes longer to slow down on icy roads so if you know you are stopping soon, start slightly pressing your brakes. If you are able to slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.

Do NOT use cruise control while driving and make sure you have an emergency kit in your car as well as your home.

"At the minimum, they should have a blanket, food, and water. Because their car will only run for so long depending on how much gas they have, so it may actually run out of fuel while they are sitting there waiting for someone to get there,” Gibsonville Fire Department suggests. 

The National Weather Service advises having extra warm clothes in your car, a blanket, a flashlight, and even a bag of sand or cat litter to help tires get traction. If your car breaks down, make your car visible to rescuers. Turn on your hazards and keep your body warm.

“Be patient. If you do call 9-1-1, if we have a major ice storm, we could be cutting down trees trying to get to you. The 9-1-1 center is going to be overwhelmed with calls this often. Can often multiply calls tenfold, and also just be patient with EMS, police, state troopers, fire department, everyone. It’ll take us an extended amount of time to get there,” Gibsonville fire captain, Ryan Chambers, said. 

For more tips and tricks, head here.