NCDA&CS offers hotline for farmers affected by winter storm (March 7)
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has activated its toll-free hotline to help farmers affected by the winter storm to connect with resources that can assist with recovery.
Farmers who have an agricultural emergency can call 1-866-506-6222. The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day through Monday, March 10.
Update (March 10) - The hotline will be staffed during normal business hours.
Be safe when cleaning up storm debris (March 11)
Last week’s storm felled trees and branches across the piedmont. The N.C. Forest Service encourages homeowners and others who prune trees or burn yard debris to use caution and follow some basic steps. Read More>>
Here are some resources for preparing for winter weather:
To prepare your family for a winter storm, consider the following:
- Restock or update your emergency kit. Always keep at least a seven-day supply of non-perishable food in your home and a gallon of water per person per day.
- Charge all your electronic devices in case of a power outage.
- Add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
- Sand to improve traction.
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
- Sufficient heating fuel. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
- Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Listen to a NOAA weather radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
- Bring pets inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
- Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.
- If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood.
- NEVER USE A CHARCOAL GRILL OR CAMP STOVE INDOORS FOR EITHER COOKING OR HEATING. THE FUMES CAN BE TOXIC.
Winterize your home:
- Winterize your home to by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment.
- Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
- Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
- Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow - or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
Cleaning up debris
- Before any work begins, survey the site for hazards, such as downed electrical wires, leaning trees or broken limbs hanging in the canopy.
- If electrical wires are an issue, do not attempt the tree work. Contact the utility company and let its crew remove the electrical wires.
- Work only on the ground and always wear a hard hat, eye protection, chain-saw chaps and appropriate footwear.
- Keep both hands on the chain saw’s handles at all times.
- Use caution when cutting with the tip of the chain saw to avoid kickback.
- Cut at waist level or below.
- Beware of trees and limbs under pressure.Trees on top of each other or trees that have twisted when falling can be under enormous pressure.Sudden release of this pressure with a chain saw or other tool can cause injury or even death.
- When you begin to get tired, stop sawing and let someone else take over, or wait until the next day to continue.