With Winter Weather Comes Safety Tips for Driving and Precautions against Fires

FREMONT – While Winter may be weeks away the cold and snowy weather could already be on its way to Nebraska.

Long-range forecasts from the National Weather Service indicate the state has chances for a harsh winter with more snow and colder temperatures compared to the lighter winters that have come in recent years. As the temperature drops and chances for snow looms over Nebraska, state and local law enforcement and fire departments are releasing safety precautions and tips for drivers and for staying warm and safe at home.

Fremont Fire Captain Jamie Meyer says many people choose to use space heaters to warm up rooms as the temperatures drop outside and in their homes. He says they recommend everyone knows their equipment, follows the instructions, and keeps distance between space heaters and anything flammable.

“We always stress about your extra portable heaters that are being used. Just caution not to set them too close to anything flammable,” said Capt. Meyer. “We know bedrooms at night may seem cool and people put their space heaters in. Just keep it away from bedding and curtains. Have enough room in front of it and behind it.”

And with winter comes more holidays and more people on the roads. Trooper and Community Service Officer with the Nebraska State Patrol Kevin Chase says the most important tips for driving in the winter weather include slowing down, turning on headlights, increasing your distance from other vehicles, and wearing seat belts.

Chase also recommends keeping a survival kit in your vehicle in case of an emergency, such as an accident or the vehicle breaking down. He says items in the survival kit could be lifesaving for any motorist finding themselves stranded.

“We suggest that you have a winter driving kit in the car. Some of the things we suggest putting in it include an ice scraper and a shovel. Have sand or cat litter. A flashlight with batteries,” said Chase. “Also blankets, and food and water. And if you’re stuck out there, make sure your cellphone is fully charged. That’s the only time we want you using that cellphone, not driving down the road.”

Anyone looking for information on road conditions during winter weather can call 511. They can also go online to Nebraska Department of Transportation’s website to check out the roads. Chase says the website is updated constantly.

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