Winter Preparations

When winter is approaching, then remember that a good wet snow will bring down the weaker trees in our area that may intertwined with power lines causing several concerns. First, this closes roads, sometimes for quite a while, depending on how many trees come down at once and how many have power lines in them. Most of you probably know that our firefighters, public works and North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) get out and cut down trees on the roadways regularly, however, if power lines are tangled with the tree, then we must wait for the power company to ensure the power is off before cutting the tree. This wait can be from one hour to several hours depending on conditions.

The main issue with power outage is that many people are not prepared to be without power for an extended period of time, from hours to days.  These conditions heavily tax our volunteer firefighters as we open and run shelters, transport people to shelters, check on elderly, and carry supplies to people who were unprepared. This is in addition to responding to motor vehicle accidents, increased medical emergencies, and unfortunately to fires.  

North Carolina Emergency Management strongly encourages people to be prepared to be in your home for 72 hours without power. This is really quite simple, but requires some planning. First, you must have a backup source of heat such as gas logs, a wood stove or other approved indoor heat that does not require electricity to operate. Caution, only use heating devices designed for indoor heating, portable kerosene heaters are not designed to be used in unventilated areas. People suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning every year from using these kerosene heaters indoors. Next, you need sufficient food and water stored for each member of your family for 72 hours, also remember that you will need a manual can opener for those ready to eat can foods. Water should not be stored in empty milk jugs, because bacteria can still be in the jug even after washing, you will need at least a gallon of water per day per person.  Another tip is to fill your tub with water when they’re calling for a winter storm and you can use this water to flush the commode, etc. Other important items are a supply of your medications, flashlights, batteries, battery-operated radio, first aid kit, blankets, and baby supplies, if you have a baby in the house. A cell phone can be helpful, but make sure your batteries are charged. If you do need help, then do not hesitate to call 911, and remember it will take us longer than normal to get there so don’t wait if you know you’re going to need help call us while you have some time. If you need to go to a shelter, then bring you’re supplies with you, especially your medications.

We open emergency shelters when needed, and will be glad to assist you if you have a problem. The emergency shelters are equipped with backup generators and are run by the local fire departments. The emergency shelters are located at:

  • Chimney Rock Fire Department, 
  • Bill's Creek Fire Department, and 
  • Lake View Restaurant.

The fire department also maintains a list of people who must remain on oxygen. In the event of an extended power outage, we can bring additional oxygen bottles to your home or transport you to an emergency shelter. If you are on oxygen in your home or know someone who is, then please contact the fire department at 828-625-9333 as soon as possible so we can add your name to our list.

Driving in snow and ice is always dangerous and our roads do not help, therefore, our best advice is do not drive unless you have to. If you have questions, or would like a brochure on preparing for severe weather, then contact us at 828-625-9333.