City of Colorado Springs / Emergency Management / News

City encourages calm preparation before the storm
Thursday, February 02, 2012

The City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is encouraging citizens to prepare for winter weather, predicted for the City through Friday.  According to the National Weather Service, frigid temperatures and snowy weather could affect much of Colorado Springs.

 “The best advice we can give at this point is to avoid prolonged exposure to the cold,” said Bret Waters, emergency management director.  “Additionally, it is never too late to prepare emergency kits for both home and car.”

Warming Shelter Open

For those who need emergency shelter, The Salvation Army opens its warming shelter (709 S. Sierra Madre St.) whenever temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.  The shelter will accept entry until 10 p.m. when the doors close for a head count.  Once the head count is completed the doors open again (around 11 p.m.).  For more information about Salvation Army Services please call, (719) 578-9190.

Winter Weather PreparationWaters said it is important to take steps to winterize homes and cars now.

“We remind citizens to always carry an emergency supply kit in the car when traveling during winter months, and stay tuned to weather forecasts that may impact the local area.  Also, dress correctly for the weather even if planning just a short drive to the grocery store. The car may be warm, but the motorist may be forced to walk for help if the car stalls or in case of an accident.”

Emergency Kits

Waters encourages all residents to prepare emergency supply kits for home and car.  During a weather emergency, workers may not be able to respond right away. It may be necessary for residents to survive on their own for some time.  All residents should stock enough supplies to last a minimum of three days.  Additional information is available at www.springsgov.comand select Emergency Management.

                Here are the essential items to assemble:

                                Home Emergency Supply Kit

Battery or Hand-Powered Radio   Baby/Infant Supplies 
Extra Batteries    Water (1 gallon/person/day)    
Alternate heat source, if possible   Water Purification Tablets 
Fully stocked First Aid Kit  & Manual Non-Perishable Foods 
Manual Can Opener  Emergency candles 
Paper Cups, Plates, & Plastic Utensils  Waterproof/Windproof Matches 
 Sleeping Bags  Flashlight   
Blankets (wool & thermal)  Utility Knife  
Extra Clothing  Class ABC Fire Extinguisher 
Extra Eyeglasses/Contact Lenses  Essential Medications 
Pliers   Personal Hygiene Needs 
Wrench (to turn off gas/water)  Personal Toiletries 
Duct Tape  Latex Gloves (at least 2 pair) 
Plastic Bucket with Tightly-Fitted Lid  Toilet Paper & Towelettes 
Plastic Bags & Ties  Paper Towels  
Disinfectant and Soap  Pet/Animal Supplies  
Improvised Toilet Seat 

Car Survival Kit

Maintain at least ½ tank of gas   Shovel
First Aid Kit & Manual Duct Tape
Class ABC Fire Extinguisher Flashlight & Batteries
Non-perishable food Reflectors & Flares
Bottled Water Waterproof Matches & Candles
Jumper Cables Bag of Sand
Short Rubber Hose for Siphoning Blankets or Sleeping Bags
Map & Compass Tow Rope
Extra Cell Phone Charger Tool Kit

Special Items

Pet Food and Water  Kitty litter
Baby Formula, Bottles Powdered Milk
Diapers Extra Medications
Child's Toy or Stuffed Animal Denture Needs
Extra clothing/blankets for children Oxygen

 A Glossary of Important Weather Terms

Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause significant damage to plants, crops, or fruit trees. In areas unaccustomed to freezing temperatures, people who have homes without heat need to take added precautions.

Winter Weather Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected and may be hazardous, especially for motorists.

Winter Storm Watch: Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm. Prepare now!

Winter Storm Warning: Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin. Seek shelter!

Wind Advisory: Issued for average wind speeds between 31 and 39 miles an hour, or for frequent wind gusts between 46 and 57 miles an hour.

High Wind Warning: Expected winds will average 40 miles an hour or more for at least 1 hour, or wind gusts will be greater than 58 miles an hour.  Trees and power lines can be blown down. A High Wind Warning may be preceded by a High Wind Watch if the strong winds are not expected to occur for at least 12 hours.

Blizzard Warning: Heavy snow and sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more will combine to produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately! Blizzards are the most dangerous of winter storms with conditions that lead to frostbite, hypothermia, and damage to unsupported structures and homes.

Dense Fog Advisory: Issued when fog will reduce visibility to 1/4 mile or less over a widespread area.

Wind chill: The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin by combined effects of wind and cold. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Animals are also affected by wind chill.