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Be Prepared for Winter Storms: What to Do Before, During and After a Storm

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 20, 2017

 During winter storm season, learn what you can do to keep you and your family safe: 

Before a storm

  • Ensure that you have enough food, water, medication (if needed) and batteries to last two to three days.
  • Check portable radios, smoke detectors and flashlights to ensure they are working and that the batteries are fresh. Fully charge your cell phone.
  • Check heating equipment. If you use propane or fuel oil, make sure that levels are near full.
  • Have a snow shovel ready.
  • Run necessary errands. Don't wait until the storm strikes.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is properly winterized and that snow tires and/or chains are installed. Keep a blanket, snow shovel, sand or kitty litter and flares in your vehicle. Fill the gas tank.
  • Park cars off-road, especially on narrow streets, to help snow plow operators safely clear streets from curb-to-curb. Where off-road parking is not available, work with neighbors to park cars on one side of the street.
  • Don't park on snow emergency routes during a declared snow emergency or your car may be towed. Major roads must be kept clear for emergency vehicles. Snow emergency routes are designated by red and white signs.
  • Check with neighbors who may require special assistance to see if they need help in stocking up on supplies or medications, and call them during the storm.


During a Storm

  • Stay indoors. Only travel when absolutely necessary. Give snow plows a chance to clear the roads. If travel conditions become difficult, seek refuge and remain there until the storm has passed.
  • If you must go out, leave your car at home and take transit.
  • When going outside, ensure that you have proper clothing to protect you from the elements. A heavy coat, gloves, boots and a hat are a must.
  • If driving during the storm is unavoidable, put together a supply kit for the car that includes a flashlight with extra batteries, flares, blankets or sleeping bags, dry clothing, snacks and water, a small shovel, jumper cables, first aid kit and necessary medications.
  • Use extra caution on the road by leaving at least 10 feet between you and other vehicles.
  • Residents concerned about the safety and well-being of children, elderly individuals or adults with disabilities should call the County’s Crisis Center at 240-777-4000.


After a Storm

  • Remove snow and ice from doors, decks and gutters. If heavy snow accumulates on roofs do not attempt to use a ladder or climb onto the roof to remove it. Call a contractor instead.
  • Watch for downed power lines. If lines are down, do not touch wires or anything that the wires are touching. Contact your local utility: BG&E - 877-778-2222; First Energy/Potomac Edison - 1-888-544-4877; PEPCO - 1-877-737-2662. If wires are sparking, call 911.
  • Try to give snow plow operators a chance to remove snow or ice off highways and residential streets before venturing out.
  • If snow has covered fire hydrants, help to remove it so firefighters can easily locate them in the event of an emergency.

Release ID: 17-243
Media Contact: Esther Bowring 240-777-7170