Surviving Winter in North Dakota

 

 

Ahhh winter, it arrives whether we like it or not,  here are some ideas for what to do in  a blizzard;

If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace have at it, what a luxury when the power is out! To stay warm otherwise, we use a stove hooked up to the propane outside, and close off the room by hanging blankets. An air mattress just may be your best friend in this situation. Keep children entertained by reading, or telling stories about family history. I learned all about how my grandfather came to the United States,  in a power outage. Don’t forget the shadow games, they are always good for some entertainment. So, stock the batteries, figure out the alternate heat source, along with what you can eat and drink, and enjoy the winter!

Winter weather in your home during a power outage can be a challenge. Make sure you are prepared for it. If you have young family members find ways to make it fun! Build a fort in the room that you have heated, read a book out loud, do round table story telling.

Some things you can do to prepare now are to  purchase a battery powered radio, flashlights, alternate heat source, batteries for all, extra water for all members of your family, food that you can easily cook on your heat source.

For other items that you will need, check http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

Winter in North Dakota can be a wonderful but terrifying thing. If you are in somewhere warm and safe, this can be handled without too many problems.

If however, you find yourself stuck out on the road due to a blizzard, or in a ditch due to sliding off icy roads, it is terrifying!

When you are traveling in the winter have a kit in your car with you, make sure it contains warm clothes, blankets, snacks, and flags to tie as high as you can on your vehicle.

 

 

Summer Weather

 

Summer safety during these hot days! Check these tips from the National Weather Service

 

This is always a good time to test your own plans, and to check in to the plans of work, school, daycare. How To Prepare For A Tornado

Update the copies of your important papers, prescriptions, banking and insurance. Make sure you have all recently practiced your family and/or work communications plans.

Be safe, educate yourself, practice your plan.

Summer Storms and Other Shelter Needs

According to Ready.gov how to shelter depends on the hazard you are sheltering from.
I’ll use two hazards from our Multi-hazard Mitigation Plan: Tornado/Wind Storm and Hazardous Materials.
During a tornado we all know that you should shelter in a basement, or on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Practice this with your family so everyone knows that when your NOAA all hazard radio announces a tornado warning, you all head for the designated shelter area. I personally recommend having items ready to grab on days when storms are forecast. Put entertainment items such as books or games, snack items and water on the steps leading down to the shelter. That way you don’t have to search for them and you’ll have something to do while you wait out the storm.

For hazardous materials release we still shelter indoors but you would take extra precautions to keep the contamination from getting into your home.
Here is information from Ready.gov on SEALING A ROOM.
As always, pass this information along to friends, neighbors, family. Do drills to make these actions routine. You never know what calamity could strike, when. STAY SAFE!

Controlled Burn Procedures

 

Cavalier County has issued the following procedures for landowners, contractors, equipment operators, and outdoor enthusiasts when engaged in open area controlled burning situations.  


 The following procedures are to ensure that open burning is coordinated with the proper authorities for maximum safety to both people and property.

  1. Contact the Cavalier County Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) at 256-2555 before a controlled open burn is started so that emergency responders are not dispatched for reports of fire, when in fact it is a controlled burn.  Be prepared to give your name, contact number, location of the controlled burn and anticipated duration of the burn.  After the burning is completed and the fire is out, contact the PSAP again at 256-2555 to inform them of the completion. PLEASE DO NOT burn when the fire danger index is VERY HIGH, EXTREME OR WHEN THERE IS A RED FLAG WARNING. Contact your fire district chief when doing a controlled burn also, the list of chiefs is available here.


  2. Controlled burns need to be physically manned and monitored at all times.  Once the fire has been started, do not leave the site unattended until the fire is completely out.


  3. Be prepared if the fire gets out of hand!  Call 9-1-1 immediately and have resources available to mitigate the effects (e.g. tractor, digger, shovels, etc.).

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  4. A recreational fire can be an enjoyable outdoor activity when conducted safely. When burning a recreational fire on your property, remember to be a good neighbor. You are responsible for keeping your family, your friends, neighbors and children safe. The intent of these guidelines is to prevent fire hazards and ensure that your recreational fire is safe and enjoyable.

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  5. What is the correct size and location for my recreational fire?
    Recreational fires shall be limited in size to 3-feet-wide by 3-feet-high and must be at least 25 feet from any combustible structures such as homes, sheds, decks or fences.
    Exception: Portable, screened fire vessels may be used within 25 feet of combustible structures provided they are positioned at a safe distance from said structures, located on anon-combustible surface (i.e.patio, driveway or bare ground), and the fire conforms to the 3×3-feet size limitation.
    The fire must be located on your own property. A responsible adult must be present at all times.

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  6. What can I burn in my recreational fire?
    Only wood, minimum 1-inch in diameter may be burned. Prohibited items include: brush, yard waste, treated or
    painted lumber, trash or rubbish.
    A means of controlling or extinguishing the fire must be available at all times, such as a garden hose or shovel, and
    loose dirt.
    The fire must be completely extinguished when unattended.

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You are urged to check the North Dakota Fire Danger Rating prior to any controlled burn.  This information and current fire danger ratings are available on the following Web site:

Fire Danger Map

 

HOW DOES COLD AFFECT YOUR HEART?

It’s important to know how cold weather can affect your heart, especially if you have cardiovascular disease.

Many people don’t realize how much they exert themselves when they are not conditioned for it simply by walking through snow. Even those that are accustomed to being outdoors in winter can accidentally suffer hypothermia if certain precautions are not taken.

Hypothermia means the body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs when your body can’t produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. It can kill you. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. Symptoms include lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering and sleepiness.

Children, our elderly and those with heart disease are at higher risk. As we age we seem to become almost immune to feeling moderately cold conditions, we can suffer hypothermia without realizing the danger.

People with heart disease often suffer chest pain or discomfort when they’re in cold weather. Some studies suggest that harsh winter weather may increase a person’s risk of heart attack due to overexertion.

It’s not just cold temperatures, high winds, snow and dampness can also cause the body to lose warmth. Wind is especially dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body. Similarly, dampness causes the body to lose heat faster than it would at the same temperature in drier conditions.

To keep warm, wear layers of clothing. This traps air between layers, forming a protective insulation. Also, cover your head. Heat is lost through your head, ears are especially prone to frostbite. Keep your hands and feet warm, too, as they  lose heat quickly.

Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before going outdoors or when outside. Alcohol gives an initial feeling of warmth, because blood vessels in the skin expand. Heat is then drawn away from the body’s vital organs.