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25 Days of Preparedness with Timmy - 2014

Join Timmy, our Preparedness Elf on a Shelf, as he shares daily winter weather preparedness tips. You can view updates here or follow his tips via DCEM's Facebook Page or Twitter Account. We're using #TimmysTips! Connect with us and share your thoughts.

Timmy's Tip: As the winter weather season begins, Timmy wants to help refresh your memory on winter weather lingo (watches, warnings, wind chill, advisories).

Timmy's Tip: Now that you know the lingo, be sure you have multiple ways to get winter weather alerts! You can sign up for the Northeast Kansas Regional Notification System, bookmark your favorite weather website, or follow local media meteorologists via social media. Don't get caught out in the cold, be ready by knowing the forecast each day! For more information on the call notification system, visit our website.

Timmy knows that winter weather can close or delay school and work. Today, he's brushing up on his knowledge of inclement weather plans. Do you know your work/school's winter weather plan? If not, ask today!
For reference here are the local school district plans:

Lawrence Public Schools
Eudora Schools
Baldwin City School District
Perry Lecompton Elementary School

Timmy's Tip: Have you ever had a flat tire, vehicle breakdown, forgotten your umbrella, needed to scrape/clear your windshield, gotten stuck in traffic, etc.? We sure have! Timmy wants to help you reduce the stress associated with these incidents by building your own vehicle preparedness kit! Some suggested items: Blankets, gloves and a hat, food and water, flashlight, ice scraper, first aid kit, cat litter (traction help). Find a full list of suggested items.

Timmy's Tip: You know that feeling you get when your gas light comes on in your vehicle when you have someplace to be? Timmy recommends keeping at least 1/4 tank of gas in your vehicle for those moments when you need to get somewhere quickly (emergency trips, last minute needs, etc.).

Timmy's Tip: With the holidays fast approaching, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V office encourages everyone to consider giving gifts that will help protect their family members and friends during a future emergency.

“A gift to help prepare for emergencies could be life-saving for friends and family,” said FEMA Region V acting regional administrator, Janet Odeshoo. “These gift ideas provide a great starting point for being prepared for an emergency or disaster.”

Supplies for an emergency preparedness kit can make unique—and potentially life-saving—holiday gifts, such as:

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
  • A flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Solar-powered cell phone charger.
  • Smoke detector and/or carbon monoxide detectors.
  • First aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher and fire escape ladder.
  • Enrollment in a CPR or first aid class.
  • Books, coloring books, crayons and board games for the kids, in case the power goes out.
  • Personal hygiene comfort kit, including shampoo, body wash, wash cloth, hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.
  • A waterproof pouch or backpack containing any of the above items, or with such things as a rain poncho, moist towelettes, work gloves, batteries, duct tape, whistle, food bars, etc.

Holiday shoppers might also consider giving a winter car kit, equipped with a shovel, ice scraper, emergency flares, fluorescent distress flags and jumper cables. For animal lovers, a pet disaster kit with emergency food, bottled water, toys and a leash is also a good gift.

The gift of preparedness might just save the life of a friend or family member. For more information, preparedness tips or other gift ideas, visit

Timmy's Tip: Carbon monoxide (CO) is often called the invisible killer. Having a working CO alarm can alert you to an emergency within your home/work and can give you the extra time you need to get to safety (especially when you are asleep)! Timmy took time to test both his CO and smoke detectors.  He also checked his knowledge of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Find all the details here.

Timmy's Tip: After being outdoors, pets can get chemicals and salt on their paws. Their paws can also get wet and cold even on those quick runs outdoors before bed. Take a few moments and clean/dry off those paws each time you get back home or let your pets back indoors. Here are 10 ways to make this winter less difficult on your pets.

Timmy's Tip:  "The windchill temperature is how cold people and animals feel when outside. Windchill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold. As the wind increases, it draws heat from the body, driving down skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature. Therefore, the wind makes it FEEL much colder." Timmy encourages you to save this Wind Chill Chart for reference for those very cold days/nights to come. The chart helps you decided how long you can safely stay outdoors.

Timmy's Tip: When winter weather is on going, you can check KDOT's KanDrive website for the latest in the condition of the roadways. This morning's Freezing Rain Advisory prompted Timmy to bookmark the website!!. Don't have access to the internet? Just call 511 for the details!

Timmy's Tip: Holiday decorations add joy to many homes, but live Christmas trees need a little more TLC. Follow these tips from National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Timmy's Tip: Winter can take a toll on your vehicle. Get it ready by visiting with your chosen mechanic/service center. Ask him/her to check and/or walk you through the following:

  1. Fluids (antifreeze, oil, power steering, brake, washer fluid, differential fluid)
  2. Wiper Blades
  3. Belts and Hoses
  4. Brakes
  5. Tires (tread type, tread depth, air pressure)
  6. Removing Ice and Frost
  7. Cold Starts and Warm Up
  8. Emergency Kit (cell phone, blanket, water, first aid kit, shovel)
  9. Lights
  10. Jump Start Cautions

What 's New and What to Look Out For

  1. Are parts worn out or worn
  2. Keep a good relationship with your repair center (Like a doctor, they should get to know you and your vehicle)
  3. Follow your owner's manual service recommendations (tire pressure monitors, rear view cameras, higher mileage standards, more air bags (seat belts are more important that ever)

Information courtesy the Winter Skill Builders Course as provided by Richard Haig of West Side 66 and Car Wash.

Timmy's Tip: Many of us will spend time outdoors this winter. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can become dangerous. Review the signs & symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia and what to do if either is suspected from CDC. Bookmark that page for reference.

Timmy's Tip: There are times when one needs a little extra warmth this winter and some may be using space heaters. Reduce your fire hazard by making sure his space heater was the right distance from flammable materials. If you are using a space heater or know someone who does, check out this safety information.

Timmy's Tip: There are a number of reasons why you may be outdoors this winter (shopping trips, outdoor recreation, everyday travel, walking the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights, shovelling snow, etc.). Adding layers is the best way to help keep your body warm while outdoors this winter. A former KHP Trooper reminded us that many people have become victims of the cold weather when their vehicles become disabled from getting stuck in the snow, running out of gas or other vehicle breakdown. So, don't skip putting on the extra layers or throwing the layers in your vehicle for those short trips. For more tips on outdoor safety visit CDC's Outdoor Safety Page.

Timmy's Tip: Help reduce slips and falls this winter by using ice melt or similar materials on your sidewalks and driveways. If you have pets, check the label for "pet safe" brands. As we progress through winter, have you updated your winter vehicle kit with the ice scraper, snow brush, etc.? Here's a full list of items you might include in your kit.

Timmy's Tip: Many of us will travel this holiday season and throughout winter. Share your travel plans with someone you know before you go. This should include your route, time you plan to leave, and when you'll arrive at your destination. If there is a problem along the way, your contact can help you. They will also know when to check in if you don't arrive when anticipated. If you travel by vehicle, be sure to include a vehicle preparedness kit.

Keep this information private for security and safety reasons - you don't want potential burglars to know you'll be gone. What else can you do? Consider having the post office hold your mail, put your lights on timers, request a property check from local law enforcement, etc. to reduce the chances of your home getting broken in to.

Timmy's Tip: When winter weather is in the forecast, adjust your alarm so you can leave home a little earlier than usual. Take your drive slow and allow for extra room between you and other vehicle. Timmy encourages you to take a few moments and review these winter weather driving tips.

Timmy's Tip: Whether you are taking a short trip or a long trip, Timmy recommends checking the forecast for cities along your route, not just your final destination. This can help you determine when to leave and if you might want to change your route due to hazardous weather conditions. Visit and enter towns along your route for spot forecasts.

Timmy's Top 10 Items to include in your Home Preparedness Kit:

1.) Non-perishable Food

2.) Water

3.) Change of clothing

4.) Personal items (medications, hygiene items, hearing aid batteries, baby formula, glasses/contacts, etc.)

5.) Personal documents and phone numbers (Insurance information, copy of your driver's license, doctor and vet contact info, family allergies, etc.)

6.) Blankets, sleeping bag, etc.

7.) First aid kit

8.) Whistle (to help let others know if you get stuck in your shelter)

9.) Flashlight with extra batteries or glow sticks

10.) AM/FM Radio

If you have pets, consider making a kit just for them. Include their food, water, medications, leash, carrier, and a photo of you with your pet for identification in case he/she gets lost.

Here's a full supply list.

Timmy's Tip: Frozen pipes can be a hassle, so here are some tips to help keep those pipes from freezing and what to do if you suspect your pipes have frozen. 

Timmy's Tip: Timmy has another visit with Gidget to discuss winter weather apparel for pets. Gidget wears a vest on walks when it's cold outside. Timmy reminds us that if it's too cold for you, it may be too cold for your pet so take a few extra precautions for them. Find tips on making this winter easier on your pets here.  Visit our Facebook page and tell us how you help keep your pets warm during winter!

Timmy's Tips: Power outages can be a real inconvenience and can happen at any time. You can be ready to wait out the outage (and make it more bearable and/or fun) by taking a few preparedness steps. Review your preparedness kit which should include items like blankets, flashlights with extra batteries, a game to play/book to read, food/water, and a battery powered radio and/or cell phone for information. Timmy and Tina are ready, and you can be also by checking out these tips.

Timmy's Tip: Many of us (adults included) enjoy playing in the snow! You've probably seen a snow fort, engaged in a snowball fight, built a snowman, gone sledding, etc. Timmy encourages each of us to partake in these activities safely away from roads. We've heard many stories of children playing near the road and a snow plow unknowingly pushes snow on top of them. Let's keep our winter memories fun by staying away from roads and layering up to stay warm!