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As we cautiously step out of our doors after the first Winter storm here on the Oregon coast in Manzanita, it seems appropriate to reflect and remind ourselves how to prepare. Winter weather can be challenging and risky in the Pacific Northwest, where storms can bring snow, ice, wind, and rain. Whether you are driving, staying at home, or going outside, you need to be prepared and take some precautions.

If you live or travel along the coast, such as Manzanita, you may see more rain and ice than snow this winter, but still be prepared for cold and windy weather and treacherous driving conditions.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe and healthy in winter weather.

– If you are staying at home or vacation rental, check the heating system, fireplace, and carbon monoxide detector to make sure they are working properly and safely. Have a backup heating source and fuel in case of a power outage. Stock up on food, water, and medications that do not need refrigeration or cooking.

– If you have to drive in snow or ice, make sure your vehicle is ready and equipped with winter tires, antifreeze, and a winter emergency kit. Drive slowly and carefully, and avoid unnecessary travel if possible. If you get stranded, stay in your car and call for help.

– Use rock salt to melt ice and snow on sidewalks, steps/steps and driveways. Spread the rock salt evenly over the area, making sure to cover all the icy patches. Avoid piling up the salt in one spot as it can damage the surface underneath. Wait for the salt to work. Rock salt typically takes between 15 and 30 minutes to melt the ice, depending on the temperature and the amount of ice present

– If you are going outside, dress in layers of warm clothing and cover your head, hands, and feet. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia, such as numbness, confusion, or drowsiness, and seek medical attention if needed.

– Sign up for emergency and road condition apps such as NIXLE, MyRadar and ODOT. Winter storm watches and warnings will be communicated frequently, so check before you head out and stay informed of critical weather and events.