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RACINE – As winter weather nears, Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave has joined with Gov. Tony Evers in proclaiming this week as Winter Awareness Week in Racine County, and he urges all residents to take steps to be prepared for winter weather.
“We live in Wisconsin and that means we can expect snow, cold temperatures, and hazardous conditions,” Delagrave said. “Take the time now to winterize your home, have your furnace checked and cleaned, and put together a winter emergency kit for your car.”
Racine County has seen its share of extreme winter weather. Over the past several years we have experienced schools and businesses closing due to heavy snow, whiteout conditions and extreme cold.
“Winter storms are considered deceptive killers,” commented David Maack, Racine County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. People die in car accidents on icy roads, from overexertion while shoveling and hypothermia from extreme cold. Take the time to prepare now.”
Maack encouraged county residents to put together a winter emergency kit for their automobiles. Winter emergency kits should include items such as food, water, a flashlight and batteries, and blankets. In your vehicle, include a snow shovel, extra gloves and hats, and kitty litter or sand to help give your wheels traction on icy roads in case you get stuck.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, between 2014-2018 an average of 46 people were killed and almost 4,200 injured each year in crashes on icy or snow-covered roads in the state. On average, about 18,000 vehicle crashes in the state each year are caused by poor winter driving conditions.
“When winter weather is forecasted, check road conditions before you head out and if possible, delay your travel plans,” commented Maack. “If you must be out, slow down and take your time.”
It is also important that you dress for the weather. Frostbite and hypothermia are real concerns during the winter months. Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers and toes and hypothermia results in dangerously low body temperatures. Dress in layers, cover skin and limit time outside. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than one bulky sweater.
Finally, winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic. Be sure to maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year and insulate pipes with insulation to avoid freezing.
“By being prepared,” commented Delagrave, “we can all enjoy a safe winter season.”
For more information on winter weather safety, go to the Ready Racine County website at www.readyracineco.com.