Contact: Percy Ashcraft, County Administrator
Phone: (804) 633-9831
Email: pashcraft@co.caroline.va.us
Feb. 5, 2010

"Caroline County Urges Citizens to Take Precautions During Winter Storm"

Caroline, Virginia -The Caroline County Department of Fire - Rescue and Emergency Management is asking citizens to closely monitor this weekend's winter storm and take precautions to protect their families.

The following actions are recommended:

  • Be aware of the current weather forecast for your area. The National Weather Service provides local winter weather advisories, warnings and safety information at http://www.weather.gov. You may also receive weather warnings on your cellular phone by signing up through the County's Caroline Alert notification system at www.carolinealert.com.
  • Parts of Virginia have already received enough snow to make traveling on roads hazardous. Road conditions will continue to worsen as the storm moves through the state. Stay off the roads. Half of the December snowstorm deaths resulted from vehicle accidents on slick roads and motorists driving too fast. If you must drive, wear a seatbelt. Real-time road conditions are available by calling 5-1-1 or visiting http://511Virginia.org.
  • Residents are asked to please respect 911 and its cellular equivalent #77 by using them for emergencies only. These contact numbers should NOT be used to ask about road conditions, to report power outages, or what schools/businesses are closed. Emergency numbers need to remain available for true emergencies where immediate rescue and assistance are needed.
  • If you lose power, call your power company to report it.
  • Avoid overexertion during clean up. Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.

Know the signs of a heart attack:
  • Chest discomfort - Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body-Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath may occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
  • Be careful using generators and space heaters. Do not operate generators indoors. Safety information is available at http://www.ReadyVirginia.gov.

Residents should also be aware of the 211 and 211Virginia.org services sponsored by Virginia Department of Social Services. Through 211, the Virginia Department of Social Services can help residents seeking assistance for an elderly or disabled person during the storm who need information on warming shelters in the area who are concerned about an unsheltered individual or family at risk of hypothermia. When you dial 2-1-1, a trained professional will listen to your situation and suggest sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in your community and statewide. All referrals are confidential, and you can search for these same services on http://211virginia.org.

More information about winter weather preparedness is available at http://www.vaemergency.com/threats/winter/index.cfm

Detailed information about how residents can stay safe during any emergency is available at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and in Spanish at www.ListoVirginia.gov.

For more information, contact the Department of Fire-Rescue & Emergency Management at (804) 633-9831. Local updates are also available on the County's webpage at www.visitcaroline.com or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CarolineGov.