FORSYTH COUNTY — The following are some tips for dealing with winter weather:
* 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.
* 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.
Winter weather contact info
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)
AT&T, residential service (770) 780-2355; businesses, (770) 780-2800
Comcast, (404) 266-2278
Georgia DOT, 511 for updated road conditions