WEST TRENTON – State emergency management officials are monitoring a winter storm expected to impact the state Friday night into Saturday. Snow, sleet and freezing rain are anticipated statewide, with the most significant impacts in the north and northwest counties.
In preparation for the storm, Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police and Director of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, is encouraging all New Jersey residents to be mindful of winter weather safety tips. New Jersey residents should prepare their homes and vehicles, and learn about how to safely manage the winter season’s challenging conditions.
“By proactively preparing your home and car for winter weather, you are helping to protect yourself and your family from the impacts that we sometimes encounter,” Fuentes said. “Some of the impacts of winter storms are power outages and dangerous travel conditions. We are especially focused on winter driving safety.”
The NJOEM recommends the following winter weather preparedness tips:
Maintain situational awareness about weather events. Below are some tips and resources for staying in-the-know:
On the Web – Use credible websites to get information about natural hazards and emergency preparedness. The NJOEM works closely with the National Weather Service regarding storm predictions and forecasts.
- National Weather Service – http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/phi/
- New Jersey Office of Emergency Management Winter Weather Page http://www.ready.nj.gov/plan/winter.html
- Office of the NJ State Climatologist, Rutgers – http://climate.rutgers.edu/stateclim/
- American Red Cross – http://www.redcross.org/
- Federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration Winter Driving Page – http://www.safercar.gov/staticfiles/safercar/pdf/wintertips.pdf
- Federal Emergency Management Agency – www.ready.gov
Social Media – Social media and other advanced communications technologies are used by frequently by emergency managers statewide. Find out if your community has a “reverse 9-1-1” system or if you can opt-in for email updates from municipal officials.
- New Jersey Office of Emergency Management on Facebook
- New Jersey Office of Emergency Management on Twitter: @NJOEM2010
- New Jersey State Police on Twitter: @NJSP
NJ Alert – NJ Alert is a free, voluntary and confidential emergency alerting system that allows NJ Office of Emergency Management officials to send E-mail or text messages to cell phones and other email enabled devices during an emergency event. Sign up for NJ Alert by logging on to: www.njalert.gov.
NOAA Weather Radio – is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service Office. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NOAA Weather Radios are typically inexpensive, easily available in stores and can often be programmed for your specific area.
Traditional Media – Continue to monitor traditional media sources – TV, newspapers and radio – to stay informed of breaking news and continued coverage of emergency events.
If you must drive during winter weather conditions, be prepared:
Travel Items to Include: All cars should be equipped with road maps, a cell phone, a shovel, a windshield scraper, a towrope, booster cables, and a brightly colored cloth to use as a distress signal. A bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter to spread under tires if stuck in snow is also recommended.
Proper Travel Notification: Drivers should inform someone that they are taking a trip, where they are going, the routes that will be traveled and when they are expected to return. Upon reaching their destination, drivers should call to report arrival. If traveling a long distance, please remember to fill up on fuel prior to making your trip. While traveling, stop frequently to refill the fuel tank. The breaks will help drivers stay alert.
Follow the rules of the road and adhere to the following guidelines:
- Always buckle your seat belt.
- Brake properly to avoid skidding. If driving on snow or ice, start slowly and brake gently. Begin braking early when approaching an intersection.
- If the vehicle starts to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until regaining traction, and then straighten the vehicle. For vehicles with antilock brakes, apply steady pressure.
Visibility and speed:
- In fog, drive with headlights set on dim or use fog lights.
- In rain, fog, snow or sleet, stay within the limits of your vision. If it is too difficult to see, pull off the road and stop.
- Drive slowly and increase following distance. Vehicle speed should adjust for conditions and match the flow of traffic.
- Watch for slick spots. Be physically and mentally prepared to react.
Be a Good Neighbor. During a storm New Jersey residents with special needs might need some additional assistance. Be a good neighbor and check in members of your community who are elderly or homebound as well as those with limited mobility, communication barriers and transportation issues prior to a storm. Additionally, New Jersey residents with a special need and/or their care givers can log on to www.registerreadynj.gov and sign up for the free, voluntary and confidential special needs registry. By registering, first responders will be given the ability to prepare, locate and assist those with a special need during emergencies and disasters.
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