Winter Weather prepardnessThe past two winters in Marshall County have made us keenly aware of the wrath mother-nature is capable of unleashing.   Although winter does not officially arrive until December 21st, we know we can expect cold, snow, blowing and drifting snow, or freezing rain events which will cause problems in our daily lives, that’s why being ready is so important.  Here are some preparedness actions from Marshall County EMA Director Clyde Avery you can take:

Stay Informed:

The National Weather Service outlooks and watches can provide you a heads up on storm potential days in advance. Weather warnings and advisories indicate weather conditions that are likely to cause you problems, have already begun, or will begin soon.

Develop a Plan:

Businesses, schools, communities and individuals should prepare for winter weather by developing a plan now before it arrives.  Having a plan will help to minimize the disruption that happens when a significant winter weather event occurs. A plan also helps keep employees, students, public safety officials and citizens safe.

Put together a Kit:

You can also be prepared by putting together an emergency kit to carry in your vehicle.  Your kit should include:

o   Mobile phone charger

o   Extra clothing, blankets or a sleeping bag

o   Flashlight and extra batteries

o   Jumper cables

o   Tow strap

o   Small tool kit

o   Emergency flares

o   Shovel

o   Sand or cat litter for traction

o   Windshield scraper and brush

o   High-calorie, non-perishable food

o   First-aid kit

o   Knife

o   Toilet paper

o   Waterproof matches or lighter

o   Small can to melt snow for drinking water

Additional Winter Weather Safety Tips:

Most winter weather related deaths are a result of auto accidents on slippery roads, so drive with more caution when roads are bad.  Give yourself plenty of extra travel time to reach your destination.  S-L-O-W down and adjust your following distance for the road conditions.  Bridges and overpasses become slick and icy before roads do.

Other winter weather related injuries and deaths can result from slips and falls, over exertion, and exposure to cold.  Clear sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice, take frequent breaks while shoveling, and minimize skin exposure by always dressing appropriately, or limiting outdoor activities due to the frigid temperatures.

Poorly maintained heating systems also lead to deaths in fires or by carbon monoxide poisoning. Have your furnace and chimney checked by professionals for proper operation and venting.  Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, or inspect the ones you have to make sure they are functioning properly.   Make sure that alternative heating sources are kept clear of clutter.

Have adequate supplies available at home, at work, on the farm, or in your vehicle to last for several days. Always consider changing plans when the weather is expected to turn bad.

The best way to stay safe during winter is to be prepared. Use common sense and caution. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or commercial radio or television for the latest information regarding weather conditions.  Take action when the National Weather Service issues a watch, warning or advisory.

Travel Advisory System:

Marshall County uses a Travel Advisory system that mirrors the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s.  The system is designed to protect the public by providing them with a standardized format that they can use as a reference to make informed decisions that could impact their safety when traveling on county roads during certain conditions.  The decision to issue a travel advisory is made by the Marshall County Commissioners based on information provided to them by the Marshall County Highway Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, and the Marshall County Emergency Management Agency as to the road conditions in the unincorporated areas of the county.  The Commissioners do not control the Interstates and State Roads such as U.S. 30 and U.S. 31, State Road 17, 10, etc…  They also do not make decisions regarding travel restrictions inside city or town corporate boundaries.

When a decision is made to implement a Travel Advisory or Travel Restriction, the following format is used:

  • Warning
    • A “Warning” is the highest level of local travel advisory. It means that travel may be restricted to emergency management workers only. During a “Warning” local travel advisory, individuals are directed to:
      • (A) refrain from all travel;
      • (B) comply with necessary emergency measures;
      • (C) cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing emergency operations plans; and
      • (D) Obey and comply with the lawful directions of properly identified officers.
  • Watch
    • A “Watch” level travel advisory means that conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. During a “Watch” local travel advisory, only essential travel, such as to and from work, or in emergency situations is recommended.  Emergency action plans should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies, and other organizations.
  • Advisory
    • The lowest level, an “Advisory” means that routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation and individuals should use caution or avoid those areas.

For additional information regarding winter weather preparedness, can contact the Marshall County Emergency Management Agency at 936-3740. Sign up to receive alerts at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Remember:  Emergency Preparedness Is Everyone’s Responsibility