Weather Outlook for this Weekend

Good Afternoon,

The National Weather Service is calling for a very cold rain this weekend as depicted in the forecast image below. While there is a possibility of the rain mixing with a few flakes of Snow on Saturday, currently air and ground temperatures are not expected to drop below freezing in Guilford County, and therefore snow accumulations are not anticipated at this time. Areas to the northwest of the Triad have a better chance of seeing some brief accumulations, however with the ground temperatures as warm as they are, no major travel impacts are anticipated.

Stay warm and dry this weekend!

Don Campbell

Donald L. Campbell, CEM
Emergency Management Division Director

Guilford County Emergency Services
(336) 641-6567

[.WX Notification List]


Keep Your Holidays From Going Up in Flames!

Greensboro Fire Patch ImageFor most of us, the holiday season represents a time for family festivities and good cheer. What few of us consider is that the holiday season is a time when there is an increased risk of home fires. According to the Greensboro Fire Department, many households engage in holiday activities that serve as some of the leading causes of U.S. home fires, including cooking.

Christmas trees, candle usage and holiday decorations also significantly contribute to the seasonal causes of home fires. Add to that the hectic nature of the holidays, when people are trying to accomplish multiple tasks at one time, and the chance for home fires grows even more.

Fortunately, with a little added awareness and some minor adjustments to holiday cooking and decorating, the season can remain festive and safe for everybody. “As everyone gets busier during the holidays, we often become rushed, distracted or tired,” says Fire Marshal Kevin Pettigrew. “That’s when home fires are more likely to occur.  But, by taking some preventative steps and following simple rules of thumb, most home fires can be prevented.”

Unattended Cooking

With unattended cooking as the leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire injuries, residents are encouraged to stay in the kitchen while you’re frying, grilling or broiling food. Since November 1, Greensboro has experienced 17 cooking-related fires. Safety tips include:

  • Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it;
  • Turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for a short period of time;
  • If you’re simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking;
  • The Greensboro Fire Department also suggests creating a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drinks are prepared or carried.

Christmas Trees

According to NFPA, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 230 home structure fires caused by Christmas trees per year. One of every three of them is caused by electrical problems, and one in six result from a heat source that’s too close to the tree.  The Greensboro Fire Department offers the following advice for picking, placing and lighting the tree:

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it’s labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
  • If you choose a fresh tree, make sure the green needles don’t fall off when touched; before placing it in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand, and be sure to water it daily.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit, and is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, candles and heat vents or lights.
  • Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory, and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
  • After Christmas, get rid of the tree. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside the home.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Source: City of Greensboro Fire Department


Guilford Metro 9-1-1 Announces Text to 9-1-1 Capabilities

showimageGuilford Metro 9-1-1 now has the ability to receive text to 9-1-1 messages through these major wireless carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. A text or data plan is required in order to text 9-1-1 with these major carriers.

“If anyone has a question of whether to call or text 9-1-1, always remember to call if you can, text if you can’t,” says Melanie Neal, interim director of Guilford Metro 9-1-1. “A voice call will always have a quicker response. Emergency texts to 9-1-1 do not receive priority of any kind on the wireless network and are treated as any other text messages, therefore texts to 9-1-1 are subject to the same speeds or delays, depending on the network strength.”

Text messaging is one of the primary methods people communicate today, especially with younger generations and members of the hearing and speech disabilities community. Texts to 9-1-1 will be very useful to the approximately 34 million Americans who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speech-impaired. Texts to 9-1-1 could also aid in situations when a crime is in progress, the caller is facing domestic abuse, is injured and can’t speak, and other situations.

The FCC has mandated other wireless carriers to provide text to 9-1-1 capability by December 31, 2014. This means that Guilford Metro 9-1-1 may request the service from other wireless carriers beginning January 1, 2015.

“It is exciting that Guilford Metro 9-1-1 continues to move forward with a focus on service to our residents,” Assistant City Manager Wesley Reid said. “The transition of these technologies over the next few years will make it easier for public safety and the community to reach the 9-1-1 center which serves as the first, first responder.”

Residents are encouraged to not “test’ this service by texting 9-1-1 unnecessarily. Texts to 9-1-1 require the call taker to stay on that line, thus not allowing the call taker to answer other lines that could be life threatening emergencies. All texts to 9-1-1 are subject to North Carolina public records laws just as calls are.

For more information, review the frequently asked questions for texting 9-1-1.

Source: City of Greensboro


Winter Weather Preparedness

Take Steps Now to Be Ready for Icy, Snowy Weather!

Guilford County, like much of North Carolina, has encountered unpredictable weather during the winter months. Across North Carolina earlier this year, there were four winter storms within weeks of each other that dumped inches of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and ice, causing an unprecedented number of accidents, power outages, and school cancellations. Single digit temperatures were also reported in many areas of the state.

Winters in Guilford County, like in much of the state, are unpredictable. Last year, the county had a major ice storm that knocked out power throughout the County for several days. Some power IceStormSmall003[1]outages lasted as long as a week. In previous years, there has been rain, sleet, ice, snow, and severe storms.

 “Winter storms are known as ‘deceptive killers’ as most deaths attributed to winter storms result from indirect dangers such as traffic accidents, falling trees, downed power lines, house fires, and carbon monoxide poisoning” said Guilford County Emergency Management Coordinator Zach Smith.

Smith added that deaths and injuries related to winter weather can be prevented. “I urge residents to take three simple steps to get ready for an emergency,” he said. “Having a plan, an emergency supplies kit, and access to the most up-to-date information will help keep you and your family safe this winter.”

Three Simple Steps

The first step is to write a plan, which should be a thought-out list of who to call, where to meet, and any special considerations that may need to be addressed.

Once you have a plan in place, build emergency supplies kits for your home and your car. Besides the standard items – non-perishable food and water for each person for three to seven days, medications, and important papers – you should also include rock salt, sand, snow shovels, extra warm clothes, and blankets. Ensure a flashlight, battery operated radio, extra batteries, and a first-aid kit are on hand as well.

Finally, pay attention to the weather forecast and stay informed about potential storms. All residents need to monitor changing weather conditions by listening carefully to their National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio and local media outlets.

Winter Preparations

Smith reminds people that during the cold winter months, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur from improper heating. The colorless, odorless carbon monoxide gas can be deadly and is produced from fuel-burning appliances, generators, and heaters. Without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide fumes can accumulate causing headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. While preparing for winter weather, remember to always keep charcoal grills and portable camping equipment outdoors. Remember to keep generators away from the home. Never run a generator in the garage or other enclosed area. Also be sure to have a battery operated carbon monoxide detector in your home. 

To prepare your home for winter weather, add insulation to walls and attics and keep an adequate supply of heating fuel on hand. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows and insulate water pipes to keep them from freezing.

Drive Safely, Use Caution

Snow and ice can cause hazardous driving conditions which leads to massive traffic delays. Keep in mind that road conditions can quickly change. When driving in winter weather, remember to:

  • Reduce your speed.
  • Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
  • Approach bridges and overpasses with caution since they often become icy prior to roadways. Do not push your breaks while on a bridge.
  • If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not push the brakes.
  • If you need to pull off the highway, set your directional lights to “flashing”.
  • Do not go out on foot unless you see a building nearby to take shelter.
  • If running the engine to keep warm, crack the window open to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never let everyone in the car sleep at once. One person should stay awake to watch for rescue crews. Tie a colored cloth to the antenna or door to make yourself visible.

“Weather conditions can rapidly deteriorate, so it’s important to keep calm and think clearly about what to do,” said Smith.

Guilford County has a preparedness website, ReadyGuilford.org, which can help residents get prepared for winter weather. The ReadyGuilford website is also the portal to sign up for the Guilford Emergency Alert, Notification, and Information System (GEANI). GEANI is an automated system to notify you of urgent and emergency information through your cell phone, home phone, and/or email, and is available to all residents and businesses within Guilford County. The State’s Emergency Management agency also has a free ReadyNC mobile app (available for both iPhone and Droid devices) that provides real-time traffic and weather, as well as valuable information.

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Thanksgiving Safety

The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

Safety tips

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Cooking safety and kids - Thanksgiving is a great time to let kids help out in the kitchen. Download our “Kids in the Kitchen” guide for ideas on what different age groups can do around the kitchen as you prepare your holiday meal.

Turkey fryers - NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers.

For more information on Thanksgiving safety information visit the NFPA website.

Source: National Fire Protection Assoication


Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery

Smoke Detector ImageDaylight Savings Time ends Sunday, November 2 at 2 am. The Greensboro Fire Department wants to take this opportunity to remind residents to change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms this weekend. Fresh batteries allow smoke and CO alarms to do their jobs saving lives by alerting families of a fire or a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide in their homes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 60-percent of fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. That is why it is important to replace batteries at least once every year and to test your alarms every month to make sure they work. Residents are urged to have smoke alarms on every level of their home, outside bedrooms and inside each bedroom.

Carbon Monoxide is called the “invisible killer,” because it is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas. Because of this, people may not know they are being poisoned. Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of fuel in various products, including furnaces, portable generators, fireplaces, cars and charcoal grills.

If you do not have a working smoke alarm, the Greensboro Fire Department offers the smoke alarm and installation free of charge by calling 336-574-4088.


Turning Colder this Weekend

NWS ImageClick the image to enlarge

 

 


Cold Weather this Weekend

Weekend Weather


Ready Guilford Website Updated as City and County Officials Monitor Ebola

Ebola Virus ImageCity of Greensboro and Guilford County officials have updated the www.readyguilford.org/ebola webpage with information for residents about the Ebola virus. The City is working closely with the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services (Division of Public Health) along with police, fire, Guilford Metro 9-1-1, local health care systems, schools, and colleges in actively monitoring the public health concerns related to the virus.

In the event of an Ebola case, a coordinated comprehensive management plan is in place thanks to Guilford County Public Health and local hospitals and other public health partners, including healthcare providers and emergency responders. Therefore, if an Ebola case did occur in Guilford County, state and local public health professionals would quickly identify everyone who was potentially exposed and take immediate measures to prevent further spread. Both state and local public health professionals have extensive training and experience with this type of investigation and response.

Residents are reminded of the Guilford Emergency Alert, Notification, and Information System (GEANI). GEANI is an automated system to notify you of urgent and emergency information through your cell phone, home phone, and/or e-mail. The system provides time sensitive, geographically based public safety messages through voice, text, and e-mail, and is available to all residents and businesses within Guilford County (including City of High Point residents in Forsyth, Davidson, and Randolph Counties). To register for the GEANI system or for more information, visit www.readyguilford.org/geani.

More information is also available through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services site at www.publichealth.nc.gov.


Dangers Associated with Portable/Stationary Space Heaters

GFD PatchThe Greensboro Fire Department wants to remind residents about the dangers associated with using portable/stationary space heaters. Earlier this week, a Greensboro resident experienced a residential structure fire as a direct result of combustibles being left too close to a space heater. 

As we transition from fall to winter, a few simple heating safety tips and precautions can help residents prevent most heating fires:

  • Keep combustible materials at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like fireplaces, wood stoves, or portable space heaters.
  • Provide a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

If you do not have a working smoke alarm, the Greensboro Fire Department offers the alarm and installation free of charge by calling 336-574-4088.

Source: City of Greensboro Fire Department


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