[r55] COLUMN: Being prepared for the winter months (12/5/2014)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Start Date: 12/5/2014 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 12/5/2014
Being prepared for the winter months

Last year, Indiana had one of the harshest winters in recorded history. All across the state, schools, businesses and even our legislative operations were halted due to the record-breaking low temperatures as well as the ice and snowfall that created dangerous weather conditions.

I remember traveling on I-74 to and from Indianapolis during session and was forced to drive well below the speed limit or have to pull over at a rest stop because the road conditions were so bad. Whether you were driving to work or shoveling the sidewalk, all of us felt the strain of the winter months in some way.

As it gets colder and snow begins to accumulate, please join me in expressing our gratitude for the emergency responders, safety officials, snow-plow drivers and ordinary citizens that keep our community safe and informed throughout the this time of year. They do all they can to protect Hoosiers during the winter, but it is also our responsibility to know the risks and prepare in advance for inclement weather.

Many Hoosiers have already felt the effects of winter, and meteorologists and weather services are predicting the weather to be even more severe than last year. To better prepare for the months ahead, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is an excellent resource and has some great tips to keep you and your family out of harm’s way, like developing a winter safety plan. 

Before a winter storm arrives, always keep extra blankets, warm clothes and matches around your house. It is also important to stock up on non-perishable food and water in case the power goes out or you might be snowed in. If the power does go out, have extra batteries for flashlights on hand and know the location of your circuit breakers. Along with supplies, families should have a plan for how to contact each other during a storm as well as a list of emergency phone numbers and important medical information.

As it gets colder, there are many ways to prepare your home for winter such as insulating around doors and windows with weather stripping. This prevents moisture and air from the outside to enter your home and keeps heat from escaping. Also, if you are leaving for vacation or a weekend away from home, a helpful tip to prevent your pipes from freezing is to allow water from faucets to drip a little. Many of these household changes can go a long way to keep you and your family warm while protecting your home from damage. 

Some clothing items that adults and children should wear during the winter include hats, scarfs, long-sleeve shirts, winter gloves, water-resistant coat and boots. Cold weather puts extra strain on the heart because the body has to work harder to keep you warm, so it is also important to wear many layers of loose-fitting clothing. Every winter, I drive on State Road 46 and watch as children from all across our community go sledding on the Hillcrest Golf Course in Batesville. I am always happy to see them having so much fun, but more so when they dress warmly.

This year, I encourage Hoosiers to be prepared for bitter temperatures, heavy snowfall and ice so your families can be safe and comfortable throughout the winter. For more information or safety tips, please visit http://www.in.gov/dhs/getprepared.htm. 

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Rep. Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.

Ziemke_12.5Column.docx