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During the last week, Kansans have been dealing with bitter winter temperatures and below zero wind chills. That isn't going to change over the weekend. The only change in the forecast is for snow that will blanket much of the state.

 

Take some time before the snow arrives to prepare yourself and your family, your companion animals, and livestock to ensure you are ready and have a plan in place.

 

"During extremely cold weather or winter storms, staying warm and safe can be a challenge," Gov. Laura Kelly said. "Winter storms can bring cold temperatures, power failures, loss of communication services, and icy roads. It is never too late to prepare your home and your car before a winter storm hits and keep yourself and your loved ones safe."

 

Assemble an emergency kit for your home that includes a battery-operated radio, a flashlight and extra batteries, extra blankets and warm clothing, food that you can open and prepare easily, and plenty of clean drinking water (at least one gallon per person per day), in case water supply lines are compromised.

 

Keep an emergency supply kit in your car with these automobile extras: jumper cables, flares or reflective triangle, ice scraper, car cell phone charger, blanket, map, and cat litter or sand (for better tire traction).

 

Avoid travel if you can. If you do travel, make sure someone knows your travel plans and make sure your vehicle has at least a half a tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded. Ensure your mobile phone is charged, and make sure your car's emergency kit is up to date. Whether at home or on the road, listen to your local radio and television stations for the latest weather information.

 

If you do become stranded in a winter storm, do not panic. Stay in the vehicle, keep fresh air circulating through a downwind window, run the motor sparingly, turn on the dome light, and make sure the vehicle's tailpipe is clear of snow. Stimulate circulation and stay awake by moving arms and legs. If you leave the car, work slowly in the snow to avoid overexertion and the risk of a heart attack.

 

If you have a cell phone, call a Kansas Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (47), or *KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike.

 

For a complete list of items for an emergency kit for your home and vehicle, go to www.ready.gov.

 

Prepare ahead of the storm so that your livestock are taken care of:

 

*     Provide appropriate shelter from the elements. Livestock can generally tolerate cold temperatures, but wind, rain, or snow will require a greater expenditure of calories. With that in mind, be sure they have a way to get out of the elements, especially the wind. Blankets can help protect horses, but a structural shelter with proper ventilation and dry bedding is the best method of protection.

 

*     Consider the amount and quality of feed. Besides taking shelter, livestock keep warm by expending energy, which means they need to consume enough calories to heat themselves.

 

*     Ensure access to water. It is crucial that your herd has access to fresh and unfrozen water. Tank heaters or heated buckets can help keep water at a temperature your animals are more comfortable drinking. Livestock will not drink adequate amounts of water if it is near freezing, and drinking enough water is important to your animals' health and well-being in winter months.

 

For more information on pet care go to https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx

 

"I encourage all Kansans to be cautious as the winter storm moves through our state," Angee Morgan, deputy director, Kansas Division of Emergency Management, said. "Stay off the roads if possible and be mindful of emergency response personnel working and give them the room to do their jobs."

 

State road and travel conditions are available at the Kansas Department of Transportation's website - www.Kandrive.org. Impacts to traffic are updated 24/7, including maintenance and construction activities, winter highway conditions, flooded roadways, incidents and crashes affecting traffic and closed highways. You may also call 5-1-1 for Kansas road conditions, outside Kansas call 1-866-511-5368 (KDOT).

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