Oklahoma City street crews were pre-treating bridges and overpasses Friday in anticipation of winter weather this weekend.
Up to 34 salt and plow trucks are available to treat and clear snow routes if winter precipitation affects Oklahoma City this weekend, when temperatures and wind chills are expected to be dangerously low and blowing snow is possible.
The City has 13,000 tons of salt on hand, which is used on streets and to mix a salt-brine solution for bridges.
If winter precipitation hits, Public Works salt and plow crews will run around the clock in 12-hour shifts until the storm is over and roads are clear. One salt and plow truck driver covers about 200 miles in a shift. There are about 1,150 lane miles of snow routes in Oklahoma City, which is about the same distance as driving to Los Angeles or Washington.
The Office of Emergency Management offers these tips and more at okc.gov/prepare:
· Have more than one way to get information in an emergency, including a source like a hand-powered NOAA Weather Radio that still works if you temporarily lose electricity during a storm. Other include television, radio, online news sources and smartphone apps like the American Red Cross’ all-inclusive Emergency Apps.
· Know the snow routes in your area. There are interactive maps on okc.gov and data.okc.gov.
· Be prepared to shelter-in-place.
· Items for winter storms to add to your disaster kit include additional non-perishable food and water for one or two weeks, extra blankets, coats, gloves, winter hats, and water-resistant boots.
· Put a disaster supply kit in your vehicle that includes blankets.
· Keep your pets safe. See The City Sentinel story by Darla Shelden about winter safety for pets here – https://city-sentinel.com/2016/12/predicted-freezing-temperatures-can-be-hazardous-for-pets/
· Keep your cellphone charged.
· Open cabinet doors below sinks and let faucets drip if temperatures remain below freezing for a day or more. Call (405) 297-3334 if your pipes burst so City crews can shut off water to your home.
· Make sure elderly family members, friends and neighbors are prepared for the storm, and check on them during and after the storm.
· Get extra medication, oxygen or other medical supplies if it’s possible you’ll need a refill before the storm’s effects are over.
Driving safety tips
· Use extra caution when driving over bridges and overpasses.
· Turn off your automatic sprinkler systems.
· Remember that posted speed limits are only to be followed during ideal weather conditions. Slow down while driving on snow or ice.
· Give salt trucks plenty of room – stay at least 100 feet behind them so salt won’t get thrown on your car.
· Plan ahead by getting up and leaving the house earlier.
· Keep at least a three-car distance from the car in front of you
· Steer and brake more slowly than usual.
· Keep warm shoes and clothes in your car.
· Clear all snow and ice from your vehicle before setting out.
· Proceed carefully through intersections.
· Have a plan if you slide off the road – who are you going to call?
Safely use alternative heating sources
Fires at home are common in the winter because of improper use of dangerous heating sources. Here are some tips from the Oklahoma City Fire Department:
· Make sure working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are properly installed in your home. Alarms should be installed outside each separate sleeping area. Test your smoke alarms monthly and install fresh batteries annually.
· Give space heaters their space. Keep combustible material at least three feet away from the heater.
· Keep all combustible materials off of floor furnaces.
· Remove any combustibles from central heater closets.
· Use a metal grate to hold logs inside fireplaces.
· Use an approved metal or glass screen in front of fireplaces to prevent embers from flying out of the firebox.
· Remember to open the damper before lighting the fireplace.
· Never use your oven to heat your home.
Useful information from the city government concerning winter weather safety can be found at this link: https://www.okc.gov/