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Be prepared for hazardous winter conditions

18 June 2013

Be prepared for hazardous winter conditions

Heavy snow to sea level has been forecast for Canterbury this week on Thursday and Friday.

The current forecast suggests the snow fall could be significant and last for up to two days.

In previous years heavy snowfall has led to road closures and power outages affecting large parts of Canterbury.

A heavy snow fall in June last year cut power to thousands of homes, left many roads impassable and disrupted flight services. The snow forecast for this week could be as bad, or worse, than last year.

The Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is urging Canterbury residents to check their emergency supplies are fully stocked.

“People need to be prepared now for the possibility that this week could bring hazardous weather conditions to Canterbury,” said Neville Reilly, Regional Civil Defence Group Controller.

“Everyone should have the necessities in place to be able to be self-sufficient for three days or more in the event of road closures and power cuts.

“This includes having stocks of food, water, warm clothing, fuel, alternative lighting and other emergency supplies on hand.

“We would also encourage people to make sure their homes are properly insulated. Installing heat tape on exterior pipes can help prevent water systems from freezing,”

“For general readiness, every household should create and practise a Household Emergency Plan, and assemble and maintain emergency survival items,” he said.

Neville Reilly said checking supplies in your car is another good thing to do and advised people who use power managers to make sure they are topped up as we come in to the heart of winter

He added there are a number of places people can find information on weather conditions and warnings including www.metservice.com and www.cdemcanterbury.govt.nz .

The New Zealand Fire Service is also reminding people to be aware of fire safety during extreme winter weather conditions. The main points to remember are: keep everything at least one meter away from a heater or fireplace; avoid overloading power sockets or multi-boxes, keep to one appliance per socket; and if using candles during a power cut, make sure they’re in a stable, non-combustible candle holder and away from anything that could burn.

Also, ashes from fires can take up to five days to cool so always empty them into a metal bin and pour water over them before disposal. If you haven't already, install smoke alarms – working smoke alarms save lives – and test them regularly.

Motorists considering driving over mountain passes in winter are advised to take chains with them in case of snow and to check road conditions and the weather forecast before setting out.

Even in small quantities, snow can be hazardous. It only takes a few centimetres on a road to make driving dangerous.

Farmers should also consider shelter options for stock.

A list of emergency supplies can be found below.

Members of the public should contact their local council for further Civil Defence information.

Specific Emergency Preparedness Items:
• Torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch
• Radio with spare batteries
• First aid kit and essential medicines
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Pet supplies
• Wind and waterproof clothing and strong outdoor shoes

Food and water for at least three days
• Non-perishable food (canned or dried food)
• Food, formula and drinks for babies and small children
• Water for drinking. At least 3 litres per person, per day
• A camp-cooker or gas barbeque to cook on
• A spare, full gas cylinder
• A can opener
• Water for washing and cooking

Suggested Winter Preparedness Items for Your Car:
• Windshield scraper and brush
• Battery or self-charging torch
• Battery or self-charging radio
• Extra batteries
• Water
• Snack food
• First aid kit
• Jumper cables
• Hi-vis vest
• Tow chain or rope
• Cigarette lighter cell phone charger
• Wind and waterproof clothing and strong outdoor shoes
• Personal medications
• Blanket(s)
• A shovel


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