Tips to stay safe during Winter Weather Awareness Week

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 7:11 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - November 14-18 is Winter Weather Awareness Week, a time to encourage people to prepare for the winter weather.

“There are multiple messages that we’re trying to convey,” Rod Eslinger, Director of Eau Claire County Planning and Development, said. “First and foremost is preparing people for the weather that we’re getting today for that matter, making sure your vehicles are prepared for that. You have your kit in the situation you go off the road.”

Eslinger also encouraged people to store blankets and a shovel in their vehicles if they would somehow go off the road. A sergeant with the Wisconsin State Patrol, Sean Berkowitch, also shared a similar message ahead of the winter road conditions.

“We want everybody to slow down. We want everybody to get to their destination as safely as they can,” Berkowtich said. “Just remember, slow down, give yourself lots of distance between you and the car in front of you, and it’s not a bad idea this time of year to have an emergency kit packed in your care in case something does happen.”

Berkowtich said the emergency kit should include things like blankets, extra clothing, flares or a flashlight, a fully-charged cell phone and a phone charger.

Although driving in the snow is a big factor in winter safety, Eslinger said there are other factors to think about as well, like making sure your home is ready for the cold.

“If you haven’t had your furnace tuned up, it would probably be a good idea to call your furnace and the person that you have to maintain them and make sure it’s functioning properly,” Eslinger said.

Eslinger said this preparation is important because winter weather can be unpredictable.

“If you’re not prepared then, all of a sudden, a situation can happen, and you don’t want to have your furnace not working on the coldest day of the year,” Eslinger said.

Berkowtich said it generally takes a couple of storms for people to get used to driving properly in the winter, which is why it is important to drive slowly, carefully and defensively.

More tips can be found on the Eau Claire County Emergency Management’s Facebook page.