"The biggest issue with the cold temperatures revolves around preparation," said Barry County OEM Director David Compton. "Having winter weather disaster kits in vehicles and at home is the most important safety measure to implement when preparing for winter emergencies."
Weather disaster kits should include: a three-day supply of food and water for each household member; pet supplies; medications; flashlights; blankets; toiletry supplies; a weather radio; a first aid kit; and warm clothing.
"If you have to travel, be prepared to be out in the elements by dressing in layers," said Compton. "Have your car winterized."
Emergency kits maintained in vehicles should also contain shovels and sand.
"We want to remind everyone that warming shelters may not be available, so it is very important to check on individuals who live alone, especially the elderly," said Compton.
"When highs are in single digits, exposed skin will freeze within minutes," said Compton. "The elderly and young will be most susceptible to extreme temperatures."
As of Tuesday, the OEM was keeping a close eye on the weather system, which is predicted to drop an additional two to four inches of snow on Barry County beginning on Wednesday. Wind gusts are expected to be up to 30 miles per hour.
Friday will most likely bring the coldest temperatures this week with expected wind chills at 25 to 30 degrees below zero.
"Up north, numerous vehicles, including ambulances, were in roadway ditches as a result of the six inches of snow they received," said Compton. "Here in Barry County the main roads are fine, but all the side roads are exceptionally treacherous.
"Southern Barry County is fortunate to have some ambulances that are four-wheel-drive," added Compton. "Because of that, we rely on their help a lot during extreme weather conditions."
It is also important to be prepared at home in case of a power outage.
"If you have a generator, use it safely," said Compton. "Do not use heat sources inside a home that are not intended for inside use and use proper ventilation when using heat sources to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning."