Severe Snow Storms – also known as blizzards or white-outs, these bring with them a great deal of snow and very low visibility.
If caught at home: stay inside with plenty of warm layers handy. Chances are good you may lose power – if you have a generator, please check out our “Generator Safety” section. If you don’t, you will be without power, which means no phone, no water, no electric heat. If you have a woodstove, dress in warm layers and stay close. If you have only electric heat and no generator, dress warmly and stay in one room with the door shut to conserve heat.
If Caught Outside: find the nearest shelter as quickly as possible; wandering around is not advisable as it is easy to get lost in the storm even if you know where you are.
If Caught in a Vehicle: call for assistance immediately if you have a cell phone and stay in the vehicle. If that goes against common sense but help is coming, exit the vehicle but stay as close as possible and keep moving to stay warm. If you do not have the ability to phone for help, bundle up and try to wait out the storm in your vehicle. If the storm doesn’t appear to be abating any time soon, it may be wiser to walk to the nearest shelter. Above all else, use your common sense.
Ice Storms – consisting of freezing rain, sleet, hail, or any combination thereof, these are extremely hazardous conditions for travel and the best course of action is to stay home. For more advice, please see our “Severe Snow Storm” section.
Extreme Cold – this can come on its own or right after a winter storm. Extreme cold in Maine is loosely categorized as any temperature below zero, and wind chill can take that temperature even lower. See our “Severe Snow Storm” section for what to do.
Cold/Flu – During the winter months it is easier than ever for germs to spread. Dispose of tissues quickly; cough or sneeze into your arm rather than your hand; wash your hands often.
Vehicle Preparedness -- Helpful items to keep in the car in case of such an emergency are: extra pair of wool socks, pocket warmers (for hands and/or feet), an extra jacket, hat, gloves; ice grippers; dry goods for consumption, bottled water.
Power Outages – bottled water is a necessity, and, since you may be without power for several hours or more, dry or canned goods are recommended, as well as an alternative source of light such as candles or flashlights.
Generator Safety – it is important to know how your generator works before you need to use it.
Thunder Storms – characterized by the bright flashes of lightning that precede the peals of thunder that can be so loud they rattle windows, these storms can cause wind damage, flash flooding, and lightning strikes
- Wind Damage – trees or limbs may come down on power lines, roads, and houses. If on the roads, drive slowly and watch for debris that may hinder your passage.
- Flooding – occurs most often in the spring, when the ground is too frozen to take in any of the melting snow and ice, and summer, when sudden storms can cause flash flooding. In both cases, the most common accident comes while in vehicles. In order to avoid being swept away in your vehicle, don’t drive onto flooded roads if you can see a visible current. It’s much stronger than you think, and the water is deeper than it looks.
- Lightning Strikes – May cause power outages. If caught outside during a storm, find shelter. Stay away from root systems, puddles and ditches, tall trees, rocky ground, and open fields. STAY OUT OF CAVES.
Wildfires – the most common causes of wildfires are unattended or ill-attended campfires, still-burning cigarette butts, and lightning strikes. Make sure all your embers are fully out before leaving your campfire, and don’t smoke in the woods or throw burning stubs out your vehicle window.
Here are some talking points for your school administrators and teachers.
- What are the procedures in case of an evacuation?>
- Is there a lockdown policy/procedure?
- How often do you exercise your drills for fire, evacuation and lockdown?
- Do you have a family reunification center designated in the event of an evacuation when re-entry is not possible?