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Stay safe in winter storms

Prior to the first Nor’easter of the season last month, state officials urged Vermonters to take measures to stay safe during winter storms.

Here are some tips released by the Department of Health on how to be prepared for when the next big, cold one hits.

Stock up. Have sufficient heating fuel and emergency supplies on hand, such as batteries, flashlights and water.

Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.

Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a supply kit, distress flag and blanket in your vehicle. If a blizzard traps you in your car, pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang the flag or a bright cloth from your radio antenna or window. Stay in the vehicle — rescuers are more likely to find you there.  Run the engine 10 minutes each hour to keep warm, and open a window slightly to ventilate; keep the exhaust clear of snow. 

Let wires be. If you see a downed power line, leave it alone – always treat power lines as if they are live.

In an emergency, call or text 911. If you need to find a shelter, dial 2-1-1. To receive Vermont alerts, sign up at http://vtalert.gov. For national weather service updates visit weather.gov/btv.

—Vt. Department of Health