Officials: Now is the time to prepare for winter

By Lance Mihm -

LIMA — Officials are suggesting that people start preparing for winter safety now as forecasters expect a slightly colder winter in the Lima region.

This winter, it is expected that temperatures will average four to six degrees lower than last winter and about three degrees lower than the historical average.

“We expect a more productive snowfall in the Lima region,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Evan Duffey.

Ohio is expected to see several fast-moving systems in December and early January. It is expected to be more concentrated to the Great Lakes region early, but the Lima region is expected to get more than its fair share come February.

Allen County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Tom Berger said now is the time to prepare before weather turns bad.

“With temperatures starting to dip in the 30s, we know winter is on the way,” Berger said.

Allen County EMA is suggesting the following tips to better prepare for winter.

“It is time to start looking at your car and home and be sure you are ready,” Berger said.

•Make an emergency supply kit for your vehicle.

•Check antifreeze levels, brakes, tires windshield wipers and fluid.

•Check your home emergency supply kit.

•Clean gutters and remove low-hanging or dead tree branches.

•Service furnaces and fireplaces.

•Make sure your weather radio is working.

“You want to make sure now that you don’t have a problem,” Berger said.

The Ohio Department of Aging knows that the elderly are more often victims in cold weather. One of the things encouraged for the elderly was to stay active.

“Older adults are disproportionately more affected,” said ODA Chief of Communications John Ratliff. “It becomes harder to tolerate the conditions. Your skin is sometimes thinner, or the medications your are on or the medical conditions can cause problems.”

Ratliff said falls can be a life-changing event for the elderly. The chances do increase for falls in snowy and icy conditions, but they are nonetheless encouraged to stay active.

“Being inactive because of the weather is one of the worst things they can do,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff said older adults should maintain regular physical activity to ensure strength and balance. The elderly should ask their medical care provider about indoor exercises and seek opportunities to be active. Invest in lamps, nightlights and exterior lights and use the highest-wattage bulbs recommended.

The ODA also recommended making clear paths as winter clothing can be bulky, increasing the risk of catching on objects and increasing the risk of falls. Wear boots and shoes that fit properly with soles and good traction.

The ODA also made the following recommendations:

•Use space heaters that have been tested and certified to the latest safety standards.

•Keep anything than can burn such as blankets and paper at least three feet away from a heating source.

•Test smoke alarms and replace those that are more than 10 years old.

•Have and practice a fire escape plan.

The ODA said all residents should have a plan in place to remain sufficient for three days if unable to leave home because of adverse weather. Emergency kits should include a battery-operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries, a loud whistle or bell, food that can be prepared easily, one gallon of water per person per day, extra blankets and a first aid kit. Keep a backup supply of medications.

A safe place should be designated for household members to meet and check on neighbors who may have problems if you are more mobile.

By Lance Mihm

Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter @LanceMihm.

Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter @LanceMihm.

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