Q&A with Cullman EMA: Stay safe while staying warm


CULLMAN, Ala. – Ahead of future cold snaps, The Cullman Tribune sat down with the director of Cullman Emergency Management Agency, Tim Sartin, to gather tips for residents to keep safe while keeping warm this winter.

CGM: In case of a power outage, how can people use generators safely?

EMA: Don’t use them in the house. Carbon monoxide comes from those generators, and you shouldn’t use them in an enclosed space. You can run a heavy gauge extension cord from the generator on the porch, but you never want anything that will emit carbon monoxide in the house. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have good batteries, as well.

CGM: How can people use heaters safely, especially in mobile homes?

EMA: If you have wall heaters, you don’t want anything close to them. No bed, dresser or certainly not a clothes basket close to them. Most heaters are about the same, but some have different fuel sources, so keep that in mind.

CGM: What type of weatherization needs to be done for cars, and should residents keep an emergency kit in their cars?

EMA: Oh yes. You need to make sure you have antifreeze in your car – when it drops down below freezing, there’s a chance your radiator could freeze up, too, so keep that on hand. Ice scrapers and spray de-icer are great as well. As far as personal kits, always put a blanket, an extra set of socks, a pair of gloves and a hat or scarf. Hand warmers can be great, too. If it’s below freezing outside, and you can’t crank your car, you want things that will keep you warm at least until help can get there.

CGM: What about pets?

EMA: During below-freezing temperatures, pets need to be brought in if possible, but don’t keep them too close to the heater. A lot of people will put their animal’s food or bed close to the heater, and they think they’re keeping them warm, but you could actually be harming them.

CGM: Do you have any other tips for our readers? EMA: Make sure to watch the weather, and have multiple ways to be informed. For smartphones, I would recommend the National Weather Service app, or the Weather Channel app.

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