Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services has been kept busy responding to more than 100 emergency incidents in the 12 hours since midnight and the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 2017. In a press release, Capt. Tommy Rutledge, public information officer with GCFES reports that those incidents include a host of medical emergencies as well as vehicle accidents, fortunately with no serious injuries and no struct fires. Fire officials continue to monitor call volume, weather and road conditions from the fire operations “War Room” at Fire Headquarters and will update with breaking news alerts should it become necessary. In the meantime, they are encouraging citizens to follow safety practices until weather conditions improve. He said citizens need to be prepared for bitter cold for the next 24 – 48 hours.
“Citizens are encouraged to stay off the roads until conditions improve,” Rutledge said. “If you absolutely must travel, slow your speed and be prepared to stop early when approaching an intersection. The best practice is to stay off the roads. Travel conditions will likely remain hazardous as sub-freezing conditions continue throughout Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.
There are several key messages that officials want to get out to the community.
- Avoid being out in the bitter cold. If you are outdoors, be sure to bundle up by dressing in layers of warm clothing. Limit time out in the cold if at all possible. Bring pets indoors and check on children and senior adults often.
- Drip water pipes in the home and open the kitchen and bathroom cabinets under the sink to allow heated air to circulate around the pipes. Cover exposed pipes and shut-off and drain the outdoor spigots. Slowly drip the faucets indoors to keep the pipes from freezing. Turn off the faucets when the temps go above freezing during the day.
- When out on the roads, slow your speed and watch for black ice and other drivers. Allow extra time to reach your destination. Monitor weather and road conditions before traveling. Avoid being out on the slick roads, especially after dark. The best advice is to stay off the roads until conditions are safe.
- Practice Fire Safety when heating the home. Keep space heaters away from anything that could catch fire and turn the space heater off when going to sleep or when leaving the room. Build a small fire in the fireplace. Be sure to put the fire out in the fireplace before going to sleep or when leaving the home. Avoid the use of candles and have plenty of battery-powered flashlights. Make sure smoke alarms are working and have a home escape plan. Never use kitchen appliances to heat the home.
- Stay Off The Ice! Never go out on a frozen body of water like a lake or pond. The ice will not be thick enough to support the weight of a small child or animal. Post warning signs around frozen bodies of water. Simply put, STAY OFF THE ICE!
- Avoid contact with downed power lines. Call the appropriate power company and 9-1-1 to report live wires down. All downed electrical lines should be considered dangerous.