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Preparation will see you through winter

WOODSTOCK – Before the forecast calls for snow and potential hazardous driving conditions, the McHenry County Department of Health reminds residents that preventive action is the best defense against harsh weather.

Residents can reduce the risk of weather-related health problems by preparing for winter emergencies and taking precautions in extremely cold weather.

Vehicles should contain the following emergency supplies: snack food; chains or rope; a shovel; a windshield scraper; water; extra hats, coats and gloves; road salt and sand; flashlight and extra batteries; a bright-colored flag and help signs; booster cables; blankets; emergency flares; a cellphone; a portable charger and extra batteries; and a battery-powered radio and extra batteries.

Motorists should travel with caution and listen for travel warnings. They also should avoid icy roads, if possible. When traveling, motorists should let someone know where they are going and when they expect to arrive.

Freezing temperatures combined with high winds make it dangerous for those inadequately prepared for winter extremes. A motorist who becomes trapped in a vehicle in a winter storm should say in the vehicle. Do not leave the car to look for help unless help is visible within 100 yards.

Besides driving tips, here’s a few to remember when shoveling.

Shoveling snow is extremely hard work. Overexertion can cause sore muscles, falls and heart attacks. Residents should know their limits when shoveling because cold weather itself puts an extra strain on the heart.

Use extra caution to avoid slips and falls on snow-covered surfaces. Rest frequently. If you become breathless, go indoors and warm up before continuing. If you experience chest or arm pain or numbness, stop immediately and seek medical attention.

For tips, visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/takesteps/index.asp.

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