New Yorkers Urged to Prepare Now for Weekend Winter Storm

ALBANY, NY (10/28/2011)(readMedia)-- This weekend, an early season winter storm is expected to bring heavy rain, heavy wet snow, strong winds, and coastal flooding to eastern and southern parts of New York State. Andrew X. Feeney, Director of the New York State Office of Emergency Management Office (NYSOEM), today encouraged New Yorkers in areas where the storm is forecast to strike to begin preparing now.

"As this early winter storm approaches, now is the time to prepare ourselves, our homes and our vehicles for winter weather," Feeney said. "That includes reminding ourselves that we need to slow down on the road and drive according to the weather conditions."

Feeney urged citizens to develop an emergency plan for home and at work, know who to call and where to go in case of emergency, prepare a portable cache of emergency supplies, and "winterize" their vehicles.

Feeney advised citizens to be aware of local weather conditions by listening to local television and radio stations or the NOAA Weather Radio, and then plan activities accordingly.

"Individual preparedness pays off in saving lives, protecting property and reducing the risks of winter weather," Feeney said. "Most importantly, as the storm approaches, people should make sure their home heating systems are working safely to avoid the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning."

One of the greatest threats residents face in New York and throughout the Northeast is that of carbon monoxide poisoning from inefficient or faulty heating equipment.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent, deadly killer claiming about 1,000 lives each year in the United States. The colorless, odorless gas can be produced by faulty home heating systems, obstructed chimneys and automotive exhaust. The gas can also be produced by poorly vented generators, kerosene heaters, gas grills and other items used for cooking and heating when used improperly during the winter months.

"Make sure that you have carbon monoxide, smoke and heat alarms properly installed in your home," Feeney said, "and test the batteries."

"Never run generators indoors or use charcoal to cook indoors," he also advised. "Never use a gas oven to heat the residence and open a window slightly to allow ventilation when using a kerosene heater.

"Motorists should drive with extreme care during the winter," Feeney said. "When severe weather is forecast, stay at home unless you absolutely have to drive. If you must go out, plan your stops, clean the vehicle completely of snow and ice, and always match your speed to road conditions."

Finally, he emphasized that winter is especially challenging for the elderly and physically disabled. "Keep an eye on your neighbor and be prepared to lend a helping hand," Feeney said.

For more information on how you can be better prepared for emergencies and for winter safety tips, visit the NYSOEM website at