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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Getting ready for the snow

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 22, 2016 3:34 AM
Snow blizzard at Etown square 600 x 340.jpg

Photo by Scott LaMar/WITF

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, January 22, 2016:

The snow storm that is forecast to hit Central Pennsylvania Friday night and Saturday is being anticipated on a few different levels.  It's the first significant snow of the winter, which always creates some excitement, meteorologists have been tracking the storm for most of the week, and the storm could produce snowfall totals of a foot and-a-half in some areas of the region.  Plus, the snow is coming on a weekend so most people don't seem to mind it as much as they might if they had to go to work or school on a weekday.

The impending snow event is the focus of Friday's Smart Talk. 

Our goal is to provide useful information for you but not the same stories you hear before every storm.

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Joining us on the program is a National Weather Service forecaster to not only provide the latest information but to explain the nuances of the storm and the factors that have contributed to making it a major storm, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and Capitol Blue Cross' Senior Health Coach to discuss outdoor activities in the snow and cold.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Advises:


General Guidelines:
  • Get an emergency supply kit that includes enough provisions for you and your family to live on for a minimum of three days.
  • Check and update your family's emergency supply kit before winter approaches and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:
  • Rock salt to melt ice on walkways.
  • Sand to improve traction.
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
  • Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you and your family warm.
  • Make an emergency plan for you and your family.
  • Listen to your radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information.
  • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and windowsills to keep the warm air inside.
  • If you have no heat, close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels or rags in the cracks under doors and cover windows at night.
  • Cover pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic. Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts. If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags.
  • Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
  • Use extreme caution when using alternative heating sources. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects. Also, when using kerosene heaters be sure to maintain ventilation to avoid build-up of toxic fumes.  See Winter Heating Safety Tips for more information.
  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Wear gloves (or mittens) and a hat to help prevent loss of body heat.

If You Are Driving:

  • Avoid driving during winter storms.  If you must drive:
  • Stay on main roads, avoiding back road shortcuts.
  • Try to only travel during the day.
  • Plan ahead for winter traveling.  Be sure to let someone know where you are going, along with your primary and alternate routes.
  • Prepare your vehicle for winter by checking (or having a mechanic check):
  • Antifreeze levels
  • Battery and ignition system
  • Brakes (wear and fluid level)
  • Exhaust system (leaks, crimped pipes, etc.)
  • Fuel and air filters
  • Heater and defroster
  • Lights and flashing hazard lights
  • Oil
  • Thermostat
  • Tires (tread and air levels)
  • Windshield wipers and wiper fluid
  • If you get trapped in your car during a blizzard:
  • Pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window.
  • Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot during a blizzard unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. If you do leave the vehicle, use extra caution because distances are distorted by blowing snow.
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe to guard against possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Huddle with other passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
  • Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for rescue crews.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • If stranded in a remote area, stomp large block letters in an open area spelling out HELP or SOS and line with rocks or tree limbs to attract the attention of rescue personnel who may be surveying the area by airplane.

If You Are Outdoors:

  • Use caution not to over exert yourself when shoveling snow.  Heart attacks caused by overexertion are a major cause of death in the winter.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
  • Keep dry. If possible, change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected:
  • Get the victim to a warm location.
  • Remove wet clothing.
  • Put the person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket.
  • Warm the center of the body first.
  • Give warm, non-alcoholic or non-caffeinated beverages if the victim is conscious.
  • Get medical help as soon as possible.

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-22 08:57

    Paul in Shippensburg emails...

    What rules are there regarding being on the road during a snow state of emergency? Our work place has suggested we should make every effort to show up but we also don't want to endanger ourselves or others. Are there any laws that workers may be breaking by trying to get to work?

  • MissyS img 2016-01-22 10:18

    Manpower - good job of catching yourself using this term. At one of my very first jobs out of college, I learned to use the term "staffing" instead of manpower. Instead of "We need 3 people per shift to man the tables" you should say "We need 3 people per shift to staff the tables." Or you could ask PENN DOT how much staffing do they have lined up for this weekend. Try it for a month. See how many times you say manpower. Substitute staffing. Then see how much the word is used by everyone else. Good luck!