Friday, December 5, 2014

How to be Sure You are Prepared for Snow

When winter weather is expected, residents can receive timely severe weather and emergency notifications from Alert Montgomery, on Facebook or Twitter. The progress of plowing operations can be tracked online and Highway Services also updates the status of snow removal operations on Facebook and Twitter. 

Montgomery County Division of Highway Services (DHS) clears more than 5,000 lane miles of County roads. The State Highway Administration clears state roads – those that are numbered.

To aid snowplows in clearing roads, residents are urged, when possible, to park vehicles in driveways or off-road. During a snowstorm, crews work to keep main County roads and emergency routes clear to ensure all households are within a half-mile of a cleared road and are accessible in case of an emergency. Only once the snow stops, do crews begin plowing neighborhood roads.

Residents should be aware that although emergency and main roads are generally cleared to bare pavement, the goal for neighborhood streets is to make them passable, which oftentimes means some snow will remain.

Residents are reminded that if a snow emergency is declared, no parking is permitted on signed “Snow Emergency Routes.” Vehicles parked on emergency routes will be ticketed and towed. During a Snow Emergency, vehicles on the road must have all-weather or snow tires, or chains. Taxicabs operating in Montgomery County during declared snow emergencies are allowed to charge $2.50 extra per trip.

 Here’s some tips to help residents prepare for a storm:

·       Emergency preparations should include having enough food, water, medication (if needed) and batteries to last two to three days. Make sure portable radios, smoke detectors and flashlights are working properly. Keep a fresh supply of extra batteries on hand, along with a basic first aid kit and a non-electric can opener.

·       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.

·       Be sure your vehicle is ready to drive after the storm by filling the gas tank; checking tires to make sure they have an adequate tread and are fully inflated; checking oil, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid levels; and ensuring windshield wipers, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes and defroster are all working properly. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom in the car for ice and snow removal, and a small sack of sand or kitty litter to improve wheel traction.

·       Stay off the roads during the storm if at all possible to allow snow plows to do their work. If driving during the storm is unavoidable, put together a separate emergency supply kit for the trunk of the car that includes: flashlight with extra batteries, flares, blankets or sleeping bags, dry clothing, mittens, socks, and a wool cap, plastic bags, snacks and water, jumper cables, a first aid kit and necessary medications and a brightly colored cloth to tie to the vehicle antenna in case the vehicle becomes stranded.