Nov. 4 through 8 is Winter Awareness Week in Wisconsin. The annual campaign, sponsored by Oneida County Emergency Management, Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), its ReadyWisconsin preparedness program and NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), is to remind people to be prepared for winter conditions that could threaten their safety.
ReadyWisconsin will air television and radio public service announcements in November, urging viewers and listeners to keep emergency kits in their vehicles. Starting Nov. 1, Wisconsin residents may sign up for a chance to win a winter survival kit online at readywisconsin.wi.gov.
Winter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to storms. For example, in the last five years, Wisconsin has averaged 50,000 motor vehicle crashes during winter months. On average, 45 people are killed and more than 5,000 injured on icy or snow-covered roads.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S., with more than 20,000 people visiting the emergency room and nearly 500 killed each year from overexposure to the gas.
Now is the time to winterize cars and homes, and to gather items for emergency kits in cars. Each household should also have a NOAA weather radio with fresh batteries.
Additional winter tips and information on putting together a winter emergency kit are available at readywisconsin.wi.gov. There are also numerous winter storm maps and a history of Wisconsin’s winter weather, produced by the National Weather Service.