WINTER SAFETY WEEK
Sixth Annual Maryland Winter Safety Week Begins
MDEM, FEMA, NWS, State Agencies Partner to Increase Public’s Awareness of Winter Hazards
Governor Moore has proclaimed December 4 through 10, 2023 as Winter Safety Week in Maryland. The initiative, aimed at enhancing public awareness of winter hazards, emergency preparedness, and safety measures, is set to kick off with the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) leading the charge.
“In recognizing the paramount importance of preparedness and safety during the winter season, we are committed to fostering winter safety within all our communities,” said Governor Moore. “I therefore officially proclaim December 4 to December 10, 2023 as Maryland Winter Safety Week. Let us unite in prioritizing the safety of Marylanders this winter. Together, we can create a winter-ready Maryland where every resident is informed, equipped, and safeguarded against the challenges that colder months may bring.”
MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland emphasizes the importance of taking winter safety precautions seriously, stating, “Winter brings with it several hazards that cause injuries and cost lives and money every year. It is precisely because of this that we must take winter safety precautions seriously.”
Maryland Winter Safety Week, in collaboration with State, local, and federal partners, will feature a series of informative activities, tips, and trivia through MDEM’s social media channels. The focus extends beyond traditional winter safety measures.
The week will also address the health risks associated with prolonged exposure to extreme cold, emphasizing the impact on vulnerable populations and those with chronic diseases. It can lower body temperature, weaken the immune system, and aggravate chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, and diabetes, among others. MDEM and its partners stress the importance of community support, urging residents to check on neighbors who may be particularly vulnerable to winter weather.
Indoor safety concerns escalate for thousands facing power outages or financial constraints preventing adequate home heating. Individuals with chronic illnesses face heightened risks in cold environments. Winter exacerbates cases of carbon monoxide exposure, particularly as people resort to generators, stoves, and heating systems that may lack proper maintenance. It’s crucial to recognize that if a space is unsafe for operating a gas lawnmower or a car, the same applies to the operation of a portable generator.
Maryland Winter Safety Week will also provide valuable tips on fire safety, home preparedness, and safe winter driving. Residents are encouraged to follow trusted weather sources, such as the National Weather Service (NWS) and local news media, to stay informed about predicted frozen precipitation or severe cold temperatures.
As Marylanders prepare for winter, MDEM remains committed to its vision to shape a more resilient Maryland where communities thrive and foster a culture of preparedness to help residents navigate the challenges of the season safely.
MDEM and other State partners have gathered numerous winter preparedness and safety tips that will be shared throughout Maryland Winter Safety Week and the winter season through our social media channels. Here are some of the highlights:
- Make sure you have multiple ways to receive alerts and you are registered with MdReady. To receive alerts, tips, and resources related to threats and hazards affecting or that may affect Maryland, text MdReady to 211-631 or text MdListo for Spanish.
- Check on the welfare of family, friends, and neighbors who are vulnerable to cold, snow, and ice, especially the elderly and those with access and functional needs.
- Practice safety when heating your home or workplace, be cautious when cooking, and ensure holiday lights and decorations are used properly. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles; they look and smell real!
- Build a home preparedness kit with winter supplies, such as snow shovels, ice-melting products, extra warm clothes and blankets, flashlights, and batteries.
- Follow trusted weather sources for predictions of frozen precipitation or severe cold temperatures.
- Make sure your car is ready for winter travel:
- Keep a car emergency kit in your vehicle, including winter supplies and essentials. Having a car emergency kit can be the difference between surviving being stranded in a severe winter storm or blizzard and getting frostbite, or worse, dying.
- Check and winterize your vehicle, including all fluids, wiper blades, lights, and systems before the winter season begins.
- Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration offers these tips for safe winter driving.
- Identify your pet with up-to-date name tag (including your cell phone) and rabies tag. Your pet can also be microchipped as most vets or animal control agencies can scan the chip to help locate the owner.
- Never use your stove as a heating source.