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January 9, 2013 

 

 

 

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Keeping Informed

The Charles County Government alerts citizens of cancellations, closings and delays and other helpful information, through the Citizen Notification System (CNS). Alerts may include:

  • Snow plowing/snow removal.
  • Power outages, including helpful tips if the power goes out.
  • Transit information.
  • Downed trees/branches.
  • Sidewalks, Driveways, and Entrances

 For snow related inquiries or concerns, please call the Charles County Government's snow hotline at 1-888-460-SNOW (7669). Please call 9-1-1 for health/safety emergencies.

 

Ways to Find Information

  • Sign up for CNS (text alert system). This is Charles County Government's free service that sends text messages to your mobile device, as well as an e-mail during an emergency.
  • Check the Charles County Government's website to register for CNS, and while there, you can also become a fan of our Facebook page.
  • Watch the CCGTV cable channel for updates (Comcast 95 or Verizon 10).
  • Media such as TV news stations and local newspapers.
  • Localized additional resources, such as local radio station signals, emergency hotlines, etc.

Information about storm events will be posted as needed at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov.

 
This information is provided by the Charles County Government Public Information Office for informational purposes.
Be Prepared for Winter Weather

Intense exertion from shoveling snow, combined with freezing cold can make your heart rate and blood pressure soar, potentially leading to heart attacks and injuries. Charles County Government reminds residents that if you are going to shovel snow, be careful to avoid Snow Shovel  exertion as cold weather puts extra strain on your body, following the safety tips:

  • Prepare wisely. Dress in layers, and wear boots with slip-resistant soles.
  • Use a shovel with an S-shaped handle, which causes less flexing of the spine. But consider using a snow thrower if you have back problems.
  • Use good timing and technique. Try to shovel promptly, when the snow is still light and powdery. Hold the shovel close to your body and push rather than lift the snow whenever possible. If you must lift, use your legs to raise and lower your upper body and the shovel, keeping your back straight and feet apart.
  • Watch for warning signs. If you feel pressure or pain in your chest, or discomfort spreading to your shoulders, neck, jaw, arms, or back, call
    9-1-1 immediately.
  • If you have a history of heart problems, the American College of Emergency Physicians advises against shoveling.
  • Remember to stay hydrated while performing these physical tasks.
  • Take a look around your neighborhood, checking in on your neighbors, especially older adults or those who have special needs.

Health Concerns

  • Severe winter weather poses a particular danger for elderly and homebound individuals who may have trouble staying safe during winter storms. County Government officials ask that residents check on their neighbors, especially in rural areas. Also, check in on neighbors who haven't been seen or heard from and who may need help.

Avoid Overexposure and Overexertion

  • Avoid exertion as cold weather puts extra strain on your heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor's advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold. Otherwise, if you have to do heavy outdoor chores or maintenance, dress warmly and work slowly. Remember, your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don't overdo it.
  • Serious health problems can result from prolonged exposure to the cold. The most common cold-related problems are hypothermia and frostbite. Be sure to dress warmly and wear a hat when going outside. Nearly half your body heat is lost through the head.
  • Check on neighbors and relatives, especially seniors. Older residents are especially susceptible to hypothermia, even inside their homes and may need assistance.
  • Taking preventive action is your best defense against winter weather conditions.

 Winter Weather Preparation

  • Stock 3-5 days worth of essential supplies. This includes water (one gallon per person per day), required medications and food that is non-perishable. Make sure you have a flashlight, battery powered radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, manual can opener and special needs items such as diapers.
  • Monitor the temperature of your home. Infants and persons over age 65 are especially susceptible to cold. Dress in several layers to maintain body heat. Covering up with blankets can also conserve heat.
  • If your home heating source uses oil or propane, ensure you have a 3-5 day supply.
  • Have an alternate heat source, such as a fireplace, space heater or wood stove in case of power failure. Follow manufacturer recommendations for installation and use. Test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to make certain they are working properly.
  • Monitor the local weather forecasts and media reports and become familiar with the warning terminology used.

Safety Tips

  • Clear snow from fire hydrants and storm drains.
  • Be mindful of roof safety and the impact of substantial snow accumulation and weight.
  • Make sure downspouts can drain away from your house to avoid potential seepage into your basement.
  • Conserve fuel during a storm by keeping your house cooler than normal. Lower the thermostat and close off unused rooms to save energy.
  • Beware of carbon monoxide. If using generators, kerosene heaters or gas fireplaces, read the owner's manual on maintaining proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep heaters at least three feet from flammable objects.
  • Check on others - help neighbors. Especially check on those who are elderly or at risk, to ensure they are safe. Also offer to help shovel snow
  • Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
  • Before a storm, prepare to shelter in place. Keep a three-to-five-day supply of nonperishable food and water on hand, along with a non-electric can opener, battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Shelter in Place. Crews working to clear the roads need as much room as possible to maneuver vehicles and equipment.
  • Avoid using roads. Vehicle traffic will compress the snow into a sheet of ice. Colder temperatures at night will re-freeze any melting snow, thus making the ice thicker. Once this happens, plows cannot remove the ice layer and will only "float" on top of the ice sheet. Removal of ice requires back hoes and heavy equipment.
  • Stock up on food, supplies and medicines just as for a hurricane or similar event.
  • Telework as much as possible.
  • Make sure you have snow shovels and ice melting chemicals, and shovel snow in small amounts to avoid exhaustion and possible injuries.
  • Wait until the snow plows have plowed your road before shoveling. Plows are large, unwieldy and hard to control. Unfortunately, they cannot control the snow that may end up in driveways.
  • When shoveling your drive, place all the snow to the RIGHT side (if looking out your front door) so the snow won't be plowed back into the drive. If shoveled to the left, when the plows come through, most of the accumulation will be pushed back into the drive.

 

For more Information on cold-related health problems and outdoor safety visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: www.cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/extremecold. The National Weather Service Wind Chill Web page: www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/.