Jefferson County, Colo. — Weather in Colorado can be unpredictable, and sudden changes in weather can quickly create dangerous situations. At Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), we recommend all our residents prepare themselves, their home and their vehicle for severe winter weather.
“At JCPH, we believe that it is important for individuals to prepare [external link] for emergencies that may impact themselves and their families,” said Christine Billings, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Infectious Disease. “While we often think about major natural disasters when we talk about preparedness, it is also important to prepare for smaller and routine events so that they don’t become emergencies.”
There are some important steps all residents can take to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and ready this winter:
- Keep ice and snow off your natural gas meter and external appliance vents to avoid the dangerous buildup of natural gas. Gently remove any accumulated snow or ice by hand and make sure to maintain a clear path to the gas meter so it’s accessible for service or emergencies.
- Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume an electric line, even one that is on or near the ground, is energized and therefore dangerous. Never, under any circumstance, touch or move a downed power line. If you see downed power lines, call 9-1-1 immediately.
- Put together a 72-hour emergency supply kit [PDF]. Include water, food, protective clothing (including sturdy shoes, cotton or wool clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirts and gloves), medications, phone charger, phone battery pack, and travel toiletries.
- Check your vehicle emergency supplies kit and replenish it if necessary. Pack enough of the following for each person:
- Blankets or sleeping bag
- Rain gear, extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks, and winter hats
- Plastic bags for sanitation
- Non-perishable food items, such as dried fruit, nuts, or energy bars
- Bottles of water.
- Plan how to stay warm safely.
- If using a space heater, make sure the heater has a safety label from a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory [external link]. In addition, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels. Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs and connections, and don’t use it if they are frayed, worn or damaged. Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when leaving a room and don’t go to sleep with a space heater on.
- Place your fire extinguishers in easily accessible areas and make sure everyone in the household knows where to find and use them. Call your local fire department’s main office phone number if you would like to learn how to use a fire extinguisher or need your extinguisher inspected.
- Test your Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Detectors at least twice a year. Call your local fire department’s main office phone number if you need assistance testing your detectors as they may test the detectors for you.
- Practice food safety. In the event of a power outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain food-safe temperatures [external link]. Foods will stay safe for 4 hours in a refrigerator, a full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for approximately two days, and a half-full freezer will stay frozen for approximately one day when the doors to these appliances remain constantly closed.
- Follow local news TV Channels or phone apps, listen to your local area radio, or NOAA radio [external link] for the latest information and updates.
Learn more about how you can prepare yourself, your home and those you love for winter. To stay up-to-date on safety and preparedness recommendations from JCPH, please visit our website.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH [external link], Instagram @JeffcoPH [external link] and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth [external link].