Appalachian State University and the surrounding region are presented each year with the threat of winter storms. While some winters may pass with little or no winter weather, this region susceptible to significant winter weather storms. Winter storms may include ice, snow, or a mixture of both.
Whether it is a minor snow event or major winter storm, it is important to be aware of the various the various hazards associated with winter winter and to always be prepared. Many of the injuries and fatalities seen from winter storms occur from associated hazards such as vehicle accidents, fires, and other related hazards. Taking time to prepare now will help ensure the safety of you and your family during the next winter storm.
Terms to Know
- Winter Weather Advisory - Cold, Ice and/or Snow are expected to impact the area that may result in a "significant inconvenience" and require extra caution.
- Winter Storm Watch - Means that there is a potential for significant winter weather to impact the area within 48 hours.
- Winter Storm Warning - Means significant winter weather is either impacting the area, or is expected to impact the area within 24 hours.
What to Do
- If power is lost, use flashlights to light your home or office. Open flame items such as candles pose a significant fire hazard. Candles and other open flame devices are prohibited on campus due to the potential fire hazard and danger. Many of the facilities on campus are equipped with emergency lighting to help guide you to safety should you experience a power failure on campus.
- Generators should never be used indoors.
- Never use gas or charcoal grills indoors as a heating source or cooking appliance.
- Use extreme caution when utilizing indoor electric and kerosene heaters. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Kerosene heaters are prohibited on campus, and only approved electrical heaters are allowed. If using a kerosene heater at home, always ensure you are using the correct fuel, and that you refuel the unit outdoors. Never leave a heater unattended, and always make sure there is at least 36 inches (3 feet) of clearance from combustibles around the heater. Remember, kerosene heaters are prohibited on campus, and electric heaters are strongly discouraged in most spaces.
- Use a carbon monoxide detector in your home if you have gas heating and appliances. This will help monitor and detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which is a clear and odorless gas that may present safety hazards if it leaks in your home.
- If you must travel, allow extra time to get to your destination. Travel slowly, and allow plenty of distance from other vehicles.
- When outside, use caution while walking and dress appropriately. Take your time and be alert for slick areas. Even if an area has been plowed or scrapped, moisture may refreeze. When dressing, make sure to dress in layers. Don't forget gloves and a hat!
How You Can Prepare Now
Make a Plan
It is important to have a plan for your home and at work/school. At home, make sure you identify safe alternative heating and light sources should you lose power.
Build a Kit
Have an emergency kit for home and work that contains the essential items you may need following a disaster. Visit the American Red Cross for more information on how to build a kit for you and your family. Remember, you may be on your own for several hours or several days. This includes periods of extended power outages.
Get a NOAA Weather Alert Radio to be notified of winter weather alerts in your area. Monitor local media stations for information on the weather, as well as University closings and delays. The University will announce closing and delays via various methods including local media and the University website.
Know the Hazards
It is important to understand the hazards associated with winter weather. Understanding the hazards now will help you stay safe during the next winter weather event. Common hazards may include: loss of power and heat, loss of communication services, fires (as the result of candles, inappropriate use of heaters, etc...), transportation disruptions, falling trees and limbs, and medical emergencies (i.e.: heart attack caused by overexertion). Make sure you know how to prevent or plan to handle these hazards.