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Winter weather tips, contacts

FORSYTH COUNTY — The following are some tips for dealing with winter weather:


Be prepared

* Check on elderly and disabled people living alone. Make sure they are prepared for winter conditions.

* Stock up on non-alcoholic beverages like tea, coffee, hot chocolate and soup.

* Maintain good nutrition and get plenty of rest.


Prepare the home

* Have the furnace and wall heaters checked by a professional for safety.

* Check all space heaters and keep them away from walls, curtains, and furniture.

* For a gas heater or any gas appliances, invest in a carbon monoxide detector. (Carbon monoxide kills about 300 people in the U.S. every year.)

* Replace the batteries in all smoke detectors and test the smoke alarms to ensure they work.

* Check the batteries in the NOAA Weather Radio. Charge cell phones and anything else that needs charging.

* When using heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater or other apparatus, use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.

* Close off unused rooms.

* Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.

* Cover windows at night.

* Cover exposed plumbing fixtures and pipes or leave dripping when temperatures drop below freezing.

* Prepare a survival kit with supplies needed to survive for a minimum of three days, including bottled water, nonperishable foods for family and pets, sleeping bags or bedding, extra clothes, medicine, flashlights, a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, and a manual can opener. See a complete list of items.

* Leave a porch light on to help power crews know when repair work is successful.

* Disconnect or turn off any appliances that will start automatically when power is restored because if several appliances start at once, it may overload circuits.


Prepare vehicles

* Give vehicles a maintenance check for tires, brakes, battery, heating and defrosting system and windshield wipers.

* Keep washer fluid full of a nonfreezing solution.

* Change the antifreeze, if needed, to protect the engine and radiator from freezing in cold temperatures.

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

* Pack and carry a winter storm survival kit, including: blankets or sleeping bags; additional warm clothing; a flashlight with extra batteries; first-aid kit; knife; high-calorie, non-perishable food such as candy bars; small can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking; bag of sand or cat litter; shovel; windshield scraper and brush; booster cables


If driving ...

* Plan travel.

* Check the weather before leaving.

* Know numbers to call and websites to check for road conditions.

* Let someone know timetable and routes.


Watch out for pets

* Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and shelter.

* Move animals to sheltered areas when possible.

* Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.

* Have water available; many animals can die from dehydration in winter storms.


Sources: NOAA; Georgia Emergency Management Agency.




Winter weather contact info


School systems
Forsyth County, (770) 887-2461

Colleges and universities
Brenau University, (770) 534-6299
Lanier Technical College, (770) 531-6300
Piedmont College, (706) 778-3000
Truett-McConnell College, (706) 865-2134
University of North Georgia (all campuses), (706) 864-1400
North Georgia Technical College, (706) 754-7700 (Clarkesville), (706) 439-6300 (Blairsville)


Power companies
Georgia Power, (888) 660-5890
Sawnee EMC, (770) 887-2363


AT&T, residential service (770) 780-2355; businesses, (770) 780-2800

Cable TV
Comcast, (404) 266-2278

Roads, highways
Georgia DOT, 511 for updated road conditions