NCDOT readies trucks, equipment for winter weather

Posted November 25, 2014

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— The North Carolina Department of Transportation gave its trucks and equipment a thorough checkup Tuesday to make sure the machines are ready to go once winter weather strikes.

“Any issues, we’re getting them repaired now,” said Britt McCurry, Wake County maintenance engineer for the DOT.

The DOT has also expanded its ability to brine roads before a storm. They've added storage for an extra 15,000 gallons of the salt-water mixture. Crews are also working on an additional salt barn to add storage capacity.

On Tuesday, Gene Booth, Cumberland County’s emergency management coordinator, asked all residents to be prepared as well. Most deaths attributed to winter storms result from indirect dangers such as traffic accidents, falling trees, downed power lines, house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from improper use of space heaters, grills and stoves.

“No matter if there is a severe winter storm in the forecast or a mild one, it is prudent for us all to be on the ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way,” he said. “In early 2014, North Carolina experienced four back-to-back winter storms, and some areas had inches of snow or ice, while others escaped with merely a dusting. Even with the best forecasts, North Carolina winters are often unpredictable … Take the time now to update your emergency plan and supplies kit to keep your family safe.”

Booth urged residents to practice the following winter safety tips:

  • Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators OUTSIDE and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors.
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and weather radios.
  • Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
  • Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing to stay warm. You will be warmer and, as the temperature changes, you can easily remove layers to remain comfortable.
  • If you must travel during a winter storm, store an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes: blankets, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, battery booster cables and flares, a tire repair kit and pump, a road map, cat litter (for tire traction), a tow rope, bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods such as granola bars, extra clothing and a windshield scraper and brush.
  • If driving on snow- or ice-covered roadways, reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide. Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
  • If conditions worsen and you can no longer drive safely, pull off the highway. Stay calm and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.

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