Updated: Feb 21
Winter is a special time of the year! It’s a joyous season filled with families coming together to celebrate the holidays. But, winter also produces storms and hazardous icy conditions.
“The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as deceptive killers, because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm.” The majority of accidents happen in traffic, icy roadways, and from hypothermia.
The Perils of Unpreparedness
In January 2013, an unexpected ice storm hit Atlanta, GA. Icy roadways led to road closures across the state. More than 2,000 children became stranded in schools overnight. This caused a statewide panic among parents, children, and caregivers. This event marked the importance of having emergency preparedness plans in place. Caregivers and parents need to be aware of a school’s evacuation plans when winter weather hits.
Preparedness Starts at Home
When emergency plans aren’t in place, fear sets in. That’s why it’s important for families to prepare early on for inclement weather.
Families can prepare in advance for winter weather by:
Getting an alternative heat source. Winter storms can cause power outages. Get a generator and become familiar with it before a storm hits.
Insulate your home’s windows and pipes.
Buy a battery-powered radio for emergency broadcasts.
Pack a 72-hour emergency kit. Add non-perishable food and plenty of water. Pack extra batteries, medication, snow equipment, flashlights, coats, socks, hand/foot warmers, blankets, and extra layers of clothing.
Have a snow emergency kit in your car: a small shovel, gravel/sand, and extra floor mats. Also include a cell phone charger.
Make a family emergency plan. Know how you will contact one another, and how you plan to get back together.
Plan your emergency driving route. Know which roads will be off limits during a storm, and choose safer roadways. Always have at least 2 routes to pick up your child.
During the storm: watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Emergency Evacuation Plans for Child Care Providers
When it comes to caring for children, it’s always better to be over prepared in case of an emergency. Schools should have emergency evacuation plans available in every classroom. These plans should be accessible to teachers, parents, students, and even substitute teachers.
Childcare providers should prepare for a winter storm by:
Training staff to turn off utilities that might freeze, such as pipes.
Prepare staff and children how to respond to a power outage. Have backup heating and lighting alternatives.
Have a landline telephone available that is not connected to an electrical source.
Have a list of telephone numbers handy. Include numbers for utility providers, police and fire, and emergency contacts.
Let parents know that severe weather is in the forecast. Urge parents to layer children in waterproof clothing.
Identify alternative locations - in case you need to evacuate or relocate during a winter storm or prolonged power outage.
Have extra layers of clothing available, as well as blankets, hats, gloves, and scarves.
Outline procedures for delayed openings, closings, and early releases.
Prepare shelter-in-place emergency kits. Sometimes it’s too dangerous for children and staff to leave the building. Kits should include food, water, rock salt, snow shovels, and snow removal equipment.
Prepare children by using the CDC's FREE Ready Wrigley coloring books and resources.
Set up a designated warm area for indoor play.
Have an emergency text message chain notifying parents of all changes and events. You can sign up for a FREE TRIAL of our emergency text message notification system
How to Secure Your Utilities During a Storm
Our friends at MyMove offer tips for keeping your utilities up and running during a storm:
Today, at any given time anyone is likely to be on their phone, tablet, laptop or some form of a device. With multiple devices comes multiple connections to the internet that could be disrupted in the blink of an eye by mother nature if she decided to. In California during the recent wildfires, it actually stopped the use of all utility and this isn’t the first time it has happened on this scale. Hurricane Michael caused even more damage causing the world’s second-longest blackout in Puerto Rico.
When a tornado, strong winds, extreme snowfall, and ice or dust storms happen the infrastructure of our lives has the potential of being shut down. Today we use the internet as a personal and professional lifeline and it is very important to understand the outage threats that could affect you. For starters knowing the most weather resistant and reliable internet service provider locally can help you prepare and keep connections during or after a severe weather event.
Once the weather event has passed, service restoration can begin. In the meantime, if you do venture out of your home, be on the lookout for downed lines. In areas with above-ground electrical and internet lines, be aware that electrical and cable/phone/internet lines can be indistinguishable to the untrained eye. Contact the electric company immediately if you spot downed lines anywhere, and stay away.
The Institute For Childhood Preparedness focuses on emergency planning and preparation. Don’t be scared. Be prepared! Check to see if an active shooter training event will be in your area. Or, contact us to set up an event in your community!