Keep an ample supply of foods for infants or family members on a special diet.
To prepare food, have wood for the fireplace, fuel cups (sterno) and charcoal or gas for a grill. Always use a grill outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.
Keep a first aid kit in your home and each vehicle and be sure everyone knows where these kits are located. First aid supplies should include bandage materials, scissors, antiseptic, liquid soap, moisturizing lotion, disposable, plastic gloves, thermometer, moist towelettes and non-prescription drugs including pain relievers, antacids and anti-diarrhea medications.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist about storing prescription medicines.
Other emergency supplies should include a flashlight, battery-operated radio, extra batteries, ABC-type fire extinguisher, non-electric can opener, pliers, a screwdriver, shut-off wrench, tape, matches in a waterproof container, extra blankets, plastic trash bags, aluminum foil, paper cups and plates, plastic utensils and storage containers, a compass, and cash or traveler's checks. It's also a good idea to have a fully-charged cellular telephone.
Don't forget your pets when assembling disaster supplies. Include food, water, medications and litter materials.
To help pass the time during a disaster, also collect books, games, cards and hobby materials. It's safest for your family and pets to remain indoors during an ice storm or other disaster.
If you must venture outdoors, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Outer garments should be tightly women and water repellent. Be sure you have sturdy shoes, rain gear, hats, gloves, thermal underwear and sunglasses for each family member. To prepare for an ice storm or other cold-weather disaster, winterize all vehicles, paying particular attention to the engine, fuel, ignition and exhaust systems. Be sure tires and brakes are in good condition and that the heater, windshield wipers and lights are properly working. Also check the antifreeze level and be sure the gas tank is full.
Prepare an emergency winter storm kit for each vehicle. This kit should include non-perishable foods, water, extra clothes, blankets, a flashlight, fresh batteries, a shovel, booster cables, flares and bags of sand.
Develop and practice an evacuation plan to safeguard your family and help members react wisely to a disaster. Governmental agencies and the Red Cross have guidelines to help you develop an emergency plan. Discuss and practice this plan with your family before a disaster strikes.
Let children help develop and carry out an emergency plan. This will help prepare them to cope with the real situation. In the plan, give young children exact steps to follow. If older or disabled relatives live at home, go over emergency plans with them; arrange special assistance or transportation for them in advance.
If you become stranded in your vehicle during a winter storm, never try to walk to safety. Sparingly run the engine and heater to conserve fuel and heat. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, slightly open a vehicle window and periodically clear snow and ice away from the exhaust pipe.
For more information, contact the Boyle County Cooperative Extension Service.
This week's joke
A passenger on a bus kept bothering the driver every few minutes to remind him where she wanted to get off.
"How will I know when we get to my stop?" she finally asked.
The driver couldn't resist. He replied, "By the big smile on my face, lady."
Jerry Little is Boyle County extension agent for agriculture/natural resources.