SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Chief Steven Pinch and the Union Fire District of South Kingstown would like to share the following safety precautions ahead of this weekend’s expected storm.
At this time, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Blizzard Warning for Washington County, including the Town of South Kingstown, beginning Friday night, Jan. 28 through Saturday, Jan. 29. Snow accumulations of as many as 18-24 inches are possible, with wind gusts potentially approaching 70 miles per hour.
Travel conditions are expected to be very difficult to impossible, and strong winds could cause tree and property damage. Strong winds may also lead to power outages.
Visit weather.gov to see the forecast for the region as the storm approaches. Residents are reminded that the forecast can change quickly and at any point, and they should monitor the local forecast throughout the coming days.
Residents are encouraged to listen to local area radio, NOAA Radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
The Union Fire District wishes to share the following winter weather safety tips:
Before a Winter Storm
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to prevent the fuel line from freezing.
- Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for each member of the household.
- Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications and medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
- Prepare for possible power outages.
- Be sure you have ample heating fuel. If you have alternative heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood- or coal-burning stoves, or space heaters, be sure they are clean and in working order.
- Review generator safety: Never run a generator in an enclosed space.
- Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working correctly and that the outside vent is clear of leaves and debris. During or after the storm, make sure it is cleared of snow.
- Home fires are common each winter when trying to stay warm. Review ways to keep your home and loved ones safe.
During a Winter Storm
- Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers.
- Bring your companion animals inside before the storm begins. Move other animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water. Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration.
- Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone.
- If you must drive during winter weather conditions, make sure all fluid levels are full and ensure that the lights, heater and windshield wipers are in proper working condition.
- Don’t leave the house without the following: A fully charged cellphone, car charger and an emergency supplies kit in your car. Ensure your kit includes additional layers of clothing and non-perishable food.
- If your car gets stuck during a storm, stay in the vehicle. If you leave your vehicle, you will become disoriented quickly in wind-driven snow and cold.
After a Winter Storm
- Stay informed and pay attention to the information provided by local authorities.
- Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved. Black ice is patchy ice on roadways that cannot easily be seen. Even if roadways have been cleared of snow following a storm, any water left on the roadways may freeze, resulting in a clear sheet of ice, also known as black ice.
- Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Residents are also asked to assist firefighters by clearing snow away from fire hydrants during and after the storm. Snow should be cleared 3-5 feet all around the hydrant so firefighters have enough room to connect a hose.