CASPER, Wyo — Casper Fire-EMS and the National Weather Service (NWS) are reminding Wyoming residents to protect themselves, homes, and pets during the winter storm that is bringing rolling road closures and subzero temperatures over the next few days.
“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” NWS said. The latest road closures and advisories can be found on the Wyoming Department of Transportation website.
Blowing snow and icy roads are creating closures and multiple accidents on roads in southeast Wyoming, and no unnecessary travel is advised.
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A recommended checklist for vehicles travelling includes:
- Jumper cables and/or portable jump pack
- Chains, cat litter, and shovel for digging out of deep snow
- A full tank of gas
- First aid kit
- Extra clothes
- Cell phone power jump packs
The following recommendations are provided by Casper Fire-EMS:
“Only use heaters that have been UL (Underwriter Laboratories, a third-party verification) certified. Inspect them regularly for damage, especially to the power cords. “
Only plug space heaters into outlets; do not use extension cords. Always maintain a safe distance from flammable materials such as drapes, furniture and household items.
Outdoor pets should be brought inside. NWS also encourages people to check underneath cars for animal that may be hiding.
NWS also recommends keeping fresh water available for animals, as winter weather can cause dehydration.
Avoid frozen pipes by allowing faucets to drip when temperatures are below freezing, Casper Fire-EMS said. Even the slow movement of water through pipes can help avoid a problematic freeze up.
“It is also helpful to open cabinet doors under sinks and other plumbing fixtures to allow additional heat into those areas,” the agency said.
“If your pipes do freeze, wrap them in towels wetted with warm water. You can also use a blow dryer to warm and thaw pipes.”
Never use any device with an open flame to thaw plumbing, the agency said. “When in doubt, call a qualified plumber to assist.”
Storage of combustible materials around heating appliances are a common cause of fire,” Casper Fire-EMS said. “Maintain safe space around all heating appliances and water heaters.”
Having a qualified technician clean and inspect for systems for proper function is also important “for both fire safety and to avoid release of carbon monoxide from an improperly operating appliance.”
“Clean and inspect your fireplace and flue,” the alet Ideally, this should be done by a qualified person who can identify any problems with the system that might place you at risk of a fire or release of carbon monoxide in your home. When removing ash, do so only in a metal container with a lid. Ash can maintain heat for days and can cause fires even after being removed from a fireplace. Thoroughly soak ash in water before disposing in trash.
“Improperly disposed smoking materials have caused an alarming number of fires in Casper,” Casper firefighters said.
“We have seen numerous fires start on the exterior of residences when smoking materials are not placed in a fire safe container. Ideally, smoking materials should only be discarded in a fire proof containers such as a metal can with a lid. Never dispose on the ground or in potted plants or other organic materials. “