By Norm Needleman, State Senator.
Meteorologists statewide are tracking a winter storm that will hit tomorrow, with those start and end times not set in stone. Current projections are for a heavy snowstorm with wind and cold, with at least one local weatherman predicting there could be a foot, or more, of accumulation before it dissipates. As with many major snowstorms, please take precautions to prepare before flakes start falling. With heavy snowfall, power outages may be possible.
But before getting into the details of winter storm preparation, I want to give an update on Connecticut’s distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
First COVID-19 Vaccines Distributed, Given to Health Care Workers This Week
Almost nine months to the day after the COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be approved for use in the United States, were administered to Hartford HealthCare workers. With more doses expected to be administered every day, these vaccinations are a milestone in Connecticut’s fight against COVID-19. The battle is far from over, however. Many health experts expect the vaccine will not be publicly available for several more months as doses are given to at-risk populations, meaning it is important for us to continue taking precautions including social distancing, mask wearing and proper hygiene whenever possible amid community spread visible across the state.
To learn more about the state’s distribution plan of the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
Winter Storm Safety Tips
Safe Driving and Preparation During Snowstorms
Experts recommend against driving in weather like snowstorms, but for those needing to travel to work or other vital locations, make sure your gas tank is at least half full to prevent freezing and in the event your car is stopped; keep warm weather clothing and extra food in your vehicle in case your car is stopped and you become stuck; and make sure all lights and your battery are fully functional, to prevent them from issues on the road, and to make sure your car doesn’t become a hazard to others if stuck on the road. When driving, make sure to be familiar with your brakes and know when to brake. Driving slowly is important, and during storms, it’s a good idea to increase your following distance in case of sudden stops. That will ensure your car can stop in time and prevent potential accidents.
Check on Your Elderly Neighbors During Storms
Snowstorms can be limiting for many seniors including those with reduced mobility. If you have elderly neighbors who have needed help in past weather conditions, please check in with them. With COVID-19 precautions in place, it will be important to keep safe; please stay socially distanced while helping them clear snow and, if you need to check home temperatures to make sure their homes are not too cold, please wear a mask or face covering.
In Case of Power Outage
If there is a power failure, it is recommended to use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns rather than candles, if possible. Candles can lead to house fires. If you do use candles, never leave lit candles unattended. Generators should be located at least 20 feet from any window, door, or vent and in a space where rain and snow will not reach them. Keep freezers and refrigerators closed and have an alternative plan to refrigerate medications.
Winter Storm Safety – Shoveling Safely
Wet, heavy snow, especially in large amounts, can pose a health risk when shoveling. To make sure you stay safe while shoveling snow, make sure to stay hydrated, take breaks or work together with other members of your household. Try to focus on moving small amounts of snow at a time while avoiding wet, heavy piles of it. Back pain, heart attacks and other injuries can result from inappropriate shoveling.