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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

 

Winter Safety  •  Tornado and Storms Safety  •  Fire Safety  •  Summer Safety 

 

 

 

 


 Winter Safety Information

Winters in the north can be especially bad with snow storms sneaking in before anyone is ready.  That's why it's smart to be prepared well ahead of time.  So, whether you're at home, work or in your car, please consider the following information when winter weather threatens. 

Be Prepared When Traveling And Check Road Conditions Before You Go:

 

Montana  |  North Dakota  |  South Dakota  |  Minnesota  |  Canada  |  National Road Map
 

*  Click here to view a listing of all Montana web cams.

Carry A Winter Storm Survival Kit:

IF YOU ARE STRANDED IN YOUR VEHICLE, A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT COULD DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT YOU SURVIVE!
Blankets/sleeping bags; flashlight with extra batteries; first-aid kit; knife; high-calorie, non-perishable food; extra clothing to keep dry; a large empty can and plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes; a smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water; sack of sand (or cat litter); shovel; windshield scraper and brush; tool kit; tow rope; booster cables; water container; compass and road maps.
 

Be Prepared At Home With These Supplies:

Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm!

Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins.

Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

Try not to travel alone.

Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.

Flashlight and extra batteries.

Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information. These may be your only links to the outside.

Extra food and water. High energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best.

First-aid supplies, extra medicine and/or baby items.

Heating fuel. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a severe winter storm.

Emergency heating source, such as a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc. Learn to use these items properly to prevent a fire. Have proper ventilation.

Fire extinguisher and smoke detector. Test units regularly to ensure they are working properly. 

 

 

 

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Tornado and Storm Tips


One of the most important things you can do to prevent being injured in a tornado or severe weather is to be ALERT to severe weather. On our location we have weather alert radios to keep us aware of any type of bad weather. Most deaths and injuries happen to people who are unaware and uninformed. Those who ignore the weather because of indifference or overconfidence may not perceive the danger. Stay aware, and you will stay alive!!

If a "Tornado Watch" is issued for your area, it means that a tornado is "possible".

If a "Tornado Warning" is issued , it means that a tornado has actually been spotted, or is strongly indicated on radar, and it is time to go to a safe shelter immediately.

SOME THINGS THAT MAY HAPPEN DURING A TORNADO:


Sickly greenish or greenish black color to the sky.
If there is a watch or warning posted, then the fall of hail should be considered as a real danger sign. Hail can be common in some areas, however, and usually has no tornado activity along with it.
A strange quiet occurs shortly after the thunderstorm.
Clouds moving by fast, especially in a rotating pattern or centering toward one area of the sky.
A sound a little like a waterfall or rushing air at first, but turning into a roar as it comes closer. The sound of a tornado has been described as the same sound of both railroad trains and jets.
Debris dropping from the sky.
An obvious "funnel-shaped" cloud that is rotating, or debris such as branches or leaves being pulled upwards, even if no funnel cloud is visible.

TORNADO TIPS


Avoid wide open spaces. Get to shelter quickly. If a tornado threatens to touch down, go to either a basement or a small interior room in your house or apartment. In small, windowless, first floor, interior room like a closet or bathroom. The bathtub or toilet are anchored directly into the ground, and sometimes are the only thing left in place after a tornado. Getting into the bathtub with a couch cushion over you gives you protection on all sides, as well as an extra anchor to the foundation. Plumbing pipes may or may not help hold the walls together, but all extra framing that it takes to put a bathroom together may make a big difference. If closets are packed with stuff, a hall may be the best shelter. Put as many walls as you can between yourself and the tornado. If you find your self in a pinch, put a metal trash can over as mush of you as you can. It will keep some flying debris from injuring you. This may make a difference between life and death.

Tornadoes may strike without warning. Listen for weather reports and tornado sirens. This will let employees go early to reach home before the storm hits.

If caught outdoors or in automobile shelter right away. If unable to find a shelter lie flat on the ground, in a ditch or low-lying area may be the only thing available. It is better to lie flat on the ground than to stay in an automobile which could easily be picked up by the funnel cloud. An underpass may seem like a safe place, but may not be. While videos show people surviving under an underpass, those tornadoes have been weak. No one knows how survivable an underpass is in a storm or violent tornado. The debris flying under the underpass could be very deadly...head for a ditch! A culvert in a ditch may be a good choice if there is no rain, but if there is rain a flash flood may be possible and may be more dangerous and likely than the tornado.

ELECTRICAL STORM TIPS


Both lightning and tornadoes are most likely to strike in open areas. Avoid places like meadows, open fields and golf courses when weather is unsafe.
Stay away from tall trees, metal poles, rails, fences, and clotheslines.
Water attracts lightning. Stay far away from lakes and pools (or any body of water) when a storm arrives.
If caught outdoors in an electrical storm, take shelter in your car or in a low area surrounded by small, thick trees or bushes. The safest places are inside a protected building, in a tunnel or cave or in vehicle.
If struck by lightning, quickly drop to your knees, drop whatever you are holding, bend forward, and rest your forearms across your thighs. Don’t touch the ground with anything other than your legs just below the knees.

 

 

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Fire Safety


Pull...Aim...Squeeze...Sweep!  (PASS!)

1. Pull the pin.

2. Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire.

3. Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.

4. Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out.  Then, watch the fire area closely in case the fire breaks out again.

 

Summer Safety Information


* For current and up-to-date "Sun Information" visit the American Cancer Society website at:

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/PED_7.asp?sitearea=PED

 

The Sun and Skin Damage


Adopting a healthy life-style has become a priority for people of all ages. A well
balanced diet, stress reduction, and regular exercise are used to achieve this goal. Spending time outdoors, in the fresh air and sunshine, is something that many people enjoy, but it is also a risk. Sun exposure has long reaching consequences that affect both appearances and health. Excessive sun exposure can be fatal.

Skin Cancers


The most common cancer in the U.S. is skin cancer, affecting approximately 600,000 people per year. There are three types of skin cancer: squamous, basal cell and malignant melanoma. The rates of each of these types of skin cancer are increasing, and vast majority of cases occurs in fair-skinned individuals.

Myths and Misconceptions


The first myth is that tanning beds are safe. They are not. It doesn’t matter whether you get radiation from the sun or a man-made source it still does damage. Another favorite misconception is, "I’m so young and my skin looks good, so why worry?" The fact is that is usually takes years for the damage from solar irradiation to become evident.

There is constant media pressure showing "healthy tans" and the result is a poor
message, especially to children and adolescents. The more frequent the sun exposure at an early age, the higher the risk of skin damage such as premature aging, wrinkling, and even cancer. There is no such thing as a healthy tan. Protect yourself from the sun and myths.

Prevention


The best way to prevent sun damaged skin and skin cancer is to limit or modify your exposure. Limit unnecessary exposure. Avoid exposure during peak UV loads
(approximately Noon – 4 p.m.) Clothing provides an effective barrier to sunlight; hats, sun-visors and sunglasses can help protect some areas of your face. Use sunscreen. Apply to the areas of your body that are most likely to get burned or are at risk for skin cancer.  Apply liberally and frequently. (Note: Don’t forget the top of the ears and the temples).

More About Sunscreen


Awareness of the damaging effects of the sun have increased so has the availability of sunscreens. A good product will provide protection against both UV-A and UV-B light. Many are now available that are "waterproof" or "sweatproof" and these are the ones you should use if you are swimming, exercising, or working outdoors. The sun protection factor (SPF) reflects how many times better the sun protection is over unprotected skin. The higher the SPF numbers the better. For example, a SPF factor of 15 means that in 15 hours of sun exposure the skin "sees" the same amount of sun as in one hour without protection. But don’t let this fool you; all sunscreens must be reapplied during continued exposure – even the "waterproof" ones.  A few examples of waterproof sunscreens providing UV-A and UV-B protection are
Aloe Gator, Banana Boat Sport, Bullfrog, and Coppertone Sport.

Early Detection: The ABC's


Physician examinations and frequent screening self-examinations are the best insurance for early detection of skin cancer. The greater the risk factors for an individual, the more frequently these exams should be done.
The self-examination should be done with the aid of bright lights and two mirrors (a hand held and a full length). Undress completely. Look systematically from head to toe and make sure that you do not miss any areas. Do it the same way every time.
To help you look at difficult areas this examination can be done with the aid of spouse or friend. Basal cell carcinomas may appear as a rough patch of skin with a central ulcer and may intermittently bleed.
Take a close look at all moles because this is where melanoma begins. The following, known as the ABC’s, are warning signs of potentially cancerous moles...
Asymmetry: Common moles are usually symmetric. Draw an imaginary line through the center of the mole. If one side is noticeably different from the other, the mole is asymmetric and may be a problem.

Border: An irregular border that seems to be notched or indistinct is a warning sign.

Color: Common moles are usually one color. Multiple hues or colors are a warning sign.

Diameter: A diameter greater that 6 millimeters is a warning sign.
Take notes on your findings and see your doctor. Dermatologists are generally the most skilled physicians in evaluating for skin cancer.

 

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Last Modified: 12/20/2013
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