Winter storm safety reminders from the Knox County Emergency Management Agency

February 21, 2013 11:26 AM
The Knox County Emergency Management Agency (KCEMA) is coordinating with area emergency response agencies, schools, and local government to prepare for today's forecasted snowfall. 
Tom Simkins, KCEMA Coordinator said, "At this time, it appears the area has the potential to see somewhere around 6 inches of snow.  There could also be a short period of precipitation in the form of ice, but it does not appear that will be significant.  The precipitation will likely start later in the afternoon on Thursday and continue into and possibly through the night. Citizens will need to monitor local radio and television for potential school and civic event cancellations and early dismissals.  The great team of area emergency response agencies and snow handling experts are prepared to provide services efficiently to all areas of the county."
Due to the potential for a large number of 9-1-1 calls, KCEMA asks that citizens limit calls to the Public Safety Building to those of an emergency nature.  
The Galesburg Public Works Department as well as the Knox County Highway Department and township road commissioners will follow their prioritized snow plans as in the past while also maintaining close coordination with police, fire, and EMS units to support response to emergencies in the towns and rural areas of the county.  In addition, the Knox County Sheriff's Department Snowmobile Team is on alert should conditions or events warrant their activation. 
While this snowstorm does not look to be a major one, the public is asked to limit use of area streets and roads to only essential travel.  Simkins advises "If at all possible, make plans to stay home with a good movie, read a book, or play a board game or two with family members."  A snow emergency will be declared should snow reach the 2" mark.  In order for the Galesburg street crews to do the best and safest job possible, citizens should prepare in advance to relocate vehicles from city streets.  Neighbors can promote good will by offering temporary parking space, especially in situations where off-street parking options are limited.  This will help facilitate a city that is safer and easier to maneuver for everyone.  
In cases where travel is ultimately necessary, safety measures can be taken.  Always check weather and road conditions before you start a trip.  Equip your car with a Winter Storm Survival Kit stocked with items such as blankets, extra warm clothing, a flashlight and batteries, first-aid kit, windshield scraper, water, booster cables, a tow rope, and some non-perishable food items. 
If you become stranded along the roadside, pull as far off the road as possible and set your hazard lights to "flashing."  If you have a cell phone, call for help.  Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, and then run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm.  To keep blood circulating and to maintain body heat, vigorously move arms, legs, fingers and toes.


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