A weather radio is a "smoke detector for severe weather and hazardous conditions." Every family and
business needs one.
- A NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards with an alarm and battery back-up is one of the best ways to protect your family
- The alarm feature can wake you up during severe weather and give you and your family time to seek appropriate shelter
- A NOAA Weather Radio is a 24-hour source of weather forecasts, watches, warnings, and non-weather emergency information provided by the National Weather Service
- If there is no severe weather then your weather radio can be switched to a silent, stand-by mode
- A weather radio with S.A.M.E. technology allows you to program your radio to alarm only for hazardous conditions that affect your county.
How to Purchase a Weather Radio
- You can buy your radio at most electronic stores.
- Weather radios come in many sizes, with a variety of functions and costs
- Most weather radio receivers are either battery-operated portables or AC-powered desktop models with battery backup
- The portable weather radios are an important item to take along when youre enjoying the outdoors such as camping and boating.
- Look for Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology that allows you to program your radio to alarm only for hazardous conditions that affect your county.
Special Needs Radios
- Your weather radio can be adapted to meet special needs such as those of the hearing impaired
- Flashing light
- Bed shaker
- Click here http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/special_need.htm
to learn more about the NOAA Weather Radio for the deaf or hearing impaired.
- The following charts provides information on how to program your weather radio
Fond Du Lac
Funded Half Power Transmitter
State Funded Half Power Transmitter
State Funded Half Power Transmitter
Half Power Transmitter
State Funded Half Power Transmitter
Black River Falls
Half Power Transmitter
Half Power Transmitter
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as making an emergency supply kit
and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-caused emergency.
However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that will impact the decisions you
make and the actions you take. Learn more about the potential emergencies that could happen where you live
and the appropriate way to respond to them.
In addition, learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and
Emergency preparedness is no longer the sole concern of earthquake prone Californians and those who
live in the part of the country known as "Tornado Alley." For Americans, preparedness must now account
for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important
part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.
Natural Disasters - Extreme Heat
Click here for Wisconsin Extreme Heat Toolkit
Know the Terms
Prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air
temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.
Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often
the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost
through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs.
This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victims condition will worsen. Body temperature will
keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke.
A life-threatening condition. The victims temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body,
stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not
Another term for heat stroke.
Summer heat waves are the biggest weather-related killers in Wisconsin for the past 50 years, far
exceeding tornado and other storm-related deaths. In 1995, two major killer heat waves affected
most of Wisconsin resulting in 154 heat-related deaths and over 300 heat-related illnesses.
Citizens of the State of Wisconsin can be seriously affected by severe heat, and it is essential
that we increase awareness of the dangers of heat waves and the protective actions which can be
taken by citizens.
National Weather Service Heat - Wave Program in Wisconsin
Issued 2 to 7 days in advance of when Heat Advisory or Excessive Heat Warning conditions are anticipated.
Issued as a Hazardous Weather Statement (HWO). Broadcasted on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, and posted on
NWS web sites (www.weather/gov).
Issued 6 to 24 hours in advance of any 24-hour period in which daytime heat index (HI) values are expected
to be 105-110 for 3 hours or more and night-time HI values will be 75 or higher. For west-central and northwest
Wisconsin, numbers are 105-114 and 80, respectively.
Excessive Heat Watch
Issued generally 12 to 48 hours in advance of any 24-hour period in which daytime heat index (HI) values
are expected to exceed 110 for 3 hours or more and night-time HI values will be 80 or higher. For west-central
and northwest Wisconsin, numbers are 115 or higher, and 80 or higher, respectively.
Excessive Heat Warning
Issued 6 to 24 hours in advance of any 24-hour period in which daytime heat index (HI) values are
expected to exceed 110 for 3 hours or more and night-time HI values will be 80 or higher. For west-central
and northwest Wisconsin, numbers are 115 or higher, and 80 or higher, respectively.
During a Heat Emergency
What you should do if the weather is extremely hot:
Never leave children, disabled persons, or pets in a parked car even
briefly. Temperatures in a car can become life threatening within minutes.
Keep your living space cool. Cover windows to keep the sun from shining
in. If you dont have an air conditioner, open windows to let air circulate.
When its hotter than 95 degrees, use fans to blow hot air out of the window,
rather than to blow hot air on to your body. Basements or ground floors are
often cooler than upper floors.
Slow down and limit physical activity. Plan outings or exertion for the
early morning or after dark, when temperatures are cooler.
Drink plenty of water and eat lightly. Dont wait for thirst, but instead drink
plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid alcohol or caffeine and stay away
from hot, heavy meals.
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light colored clothing. Add a hat or
umbrella to keep your head cool
and dont forget sunscreen!
Dont stop taking medication unless your doctor says you should. Take
extra care to stay cool, and ask your doctor or pharmacist for any special heat
Taking a cool shower or bath will cool you down. In fact, you will cool down faster than
you will in an air-conditioned room! Also, applying cold wet rags to the neck, head and limbs will cool
down the body quickly.
People at higher risk of a heat related illness include:
- Older adults
- Infants and young children
- People will chronic heart or lung problems
- People with disabilities
- Overweight persons
- Those who work outdoors or in hot settings
- Users of some medications, especially those taken for mental disorders,
- Movement disorder, allergies, depression, and heart or circulatory problems
- People that are isolated who dont know when or how to cool off or when to call for help
For additional information about heat awareness, contact your local public health
department or county emergency management director.
Flooding - Know the Terms
Click here for Wisconsin Flood Toolkit
Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
Flash Flood Watch:
Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio,
commercial radio, or television for information.
Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Flash Flood Warning:
A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move
immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash
floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.
Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in
water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to
higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
Driving Flood Facts
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups.
Thunderstorms - Know the Terms
Click here for Wisconsin Severe Thunderstorm and Tornadoes Toolkit
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to
NOAA Weather Radio
, commercial radio, or television for information.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate
imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
What to Do Before a Thunderstorm
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:
- Consider how a disaster might affect your individual needs.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage
during a severe thunderstorm.
Avoid the following:
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured
if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the
steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades,
- Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
- Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power
surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
- Remember that lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from the area where it is raining. That's
about the distance you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance.
Seek safe shelter immediately.
- Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
- Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.
- Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
- Anything metaltractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
|If you are:
|In a forest
||Seek shelter in a low area under
a thick growth of small trees.
|In an open area
||Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.
|On open water
||Get to land and find shelter immediately.
|Anywhere you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightning is about to strike)
||Squat low to the ground on the
balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the
smallest target possible and minimize your contact it the ground. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.
Know the Terms
Click here for Wisconsin Severe Thunderstorm and Tornadoes Toolkit
Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to
NOAA Weather Radio
, commercial radio, or television for information.
A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
Tornadoes are natures most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause
fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that
extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage
paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard.
Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally,
tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.
Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark
the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge
of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
The following are facts about tornadoes:
- Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes a year.
- The peak tornado season in Wisconsin is April to August, but tornadoes can occur any time of year.
- Tornadoes can occur any time during the day or night, but are most frequent between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- About 80% of tornadoes that hit Wisconsin are relatively weak, with winds under 100 mph. Only 1% are violent with winds over 200 mph.
- They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
- They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
- The average tornado moves southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
- The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 MPH, but may vary from stationary to 70 MPH.
- Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
What to do Before a Tornado
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio
or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
- Look for approaching storms
- Look for the following danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
What to Do During a Tornado
|If you are in:
|A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school,
nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
||Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room,
basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an
interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors,
and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table
and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
|A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home
||Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a
sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little
protection from tornadoes.
|The outside with no shelter
||Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and
cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the
vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
Know the Terms
Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees, and power lines.
Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and
Winter Storm Watch
A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for
Winter Storm Warning
A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing
snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
Below freezing temperatures are expected.
Damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of -20o Fahrenheit could cause frostbite in just
15 minutes or less. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as
fingers, toes, ear tips or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected Seek medical care immediately!
A condition that develops when the body temperature drops below 95oF. It is very deadly. Warning signs
include uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Seek medical care immediately!
Before Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
Add the following supplies to your disaster supplies kit:
- Rock salt to melt ice on walkways
- Sand to improve traction
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
Prepare your home and family
- Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be
cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- 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
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
Prepare your car
- Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
- Antifreeze levels - ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system - should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes - check for wear and fluid levels.
- Exhaust system - check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide
is deadly and usually gives no warning.
- Fuel and air filters - replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a
full tank of gas.
- Heater and defroster - ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights - check for serviceability.
- Oil - check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
- Thermostat - ensure it works properly.
- Windshield wiper equipment - repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate
for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must
be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
On the road
- Check the roads: Before you leave get the latest Wisconsin road conditions at www.511wi.gov or call 511.
- Feel the roads: When you first start out, accelerate carefully to test wheel spin and brake gently to test skidding.
- Be gentle: Use the accelerator and brakes slowly to maintain control of your vehicle. Fast acceleration can make wheels spin on ice and snow. Stepping too hard on the break with lock them and cause loss of steering control.
- See and be seen: Clear frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, lights and reflectors. Make sure you car has good wiper blades and an ample supply of windshild washer fluid. Using your headlights is also a good way to be seen especially in poor visibility conditions.
- Increase your following distance: Ice and snow can multiply your stopping distance up to 10 times.
- Make turns slowly and gradually: Heavily traveled intersections become polished and slick. Break before you come to a curve and not while you are in it.
- Turn in the direction of the skid: If the rear of your car begins to slide, turn into the direction of the skid. Expect a second skid as the vehicle straightens out.
- Scattered slippery areas: Icy spots on the road surface can cause loss of steering control. Dont use your break. Take your foot off the gas and steer as straight at you can until your car slows to a safe speed.
- Avoid a crash: In an emergency situation you may need to steer your car off the road and into a ditch or snow bank. You may get stuck but youll avoid a crash.
- Wear your seatbelt and make sure kids are properly secured.
- Keep gas in the tank: Have at least ½ tank of gas in your car in case you are stranded or stuck.
- Have a winter emergency kit: Keep a kit in your vehicle with candles and matches, a flashlight, pocket knife,
snacks, a cell phone adapter, a blanket and extra clothing. For a complete list and a chance to win a kit go to
Get A Kit
- Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes:
- a shovel
- windshield scraper and small broom
- battery powered radio
- extra batteries
- snack food
- extra hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- tow chain or rope
- road salt and sand
- booster cables
- emergency flares
- fluorescent distress flag
Make a Plan
- Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
- It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
- You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one
Dress for the Weather
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing.
The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
- Wear a hat.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
During a Winter Storm
- Listen to your radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information.
- Eat regularly and drink ample fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
- 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).
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters
outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
If you are outdoors
- Overexertion is dangerous. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as
shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make an existing medical condition worse.
- Cover your mouth. Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by covering your mouth when outdoors. Try not to
speak unless absolutely necessary.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its
insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- 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.
If you are driving
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, consider the following:
- Travel in the day, dont travel alone, and keep others informed of your schedule.
- Stay on main roads; avoid back road shortcuts.
- If a blizzard traps you in the car:
- 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.
- 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. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with 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.
- Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs - the use of lights, heat, and radio - with supply.
- Turn on the inside light at night so work crews or rescuers can see you.
- 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.
- Leave the car and proceed on foot - if necessary - once the blizzard passes.
Each year, more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which
could be prevented. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.6 billion annually.
To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads
quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire
can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs.
Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you
may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a
How can I protect myself from fire?
- What to do before a fire
- What to do during a fire
What to do Before a Fire
The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of a fire:
- Install smoke alarms. Properly working smoke alarms decrease your chances of dying in a fire by half.
- Place smoke alarms on every level of your residence. Place them outside bedrooms on the ceiling or high
on the wall (4 to 12 inches from ceiling), at the top of open stairways, or at the bottom of enclosed stairs
and near (but not in) the kitchen.
- Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year. Replace smoke alarms
once every 10 years.
Escaping the Fire
- Review escape routes with your family. Practice escaping from each room.
- Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut. Make sure security gratings on windows have a fire safety
opening feature so they can be easily opened from the inside.
- Consider escape ladders if your residence has more than one level, and ensure that burglar bars and other
antitheft mechanisms that block outside window entry are easily opened from the inside.
- Teach family members to stay low to the floor (where the air is safer in a fire) when escaping from a fire.
- Clean out storage areas. Do not let trash, such as old newspapers and magazines, accumulate.
- Never use gasoline, benzine, naptha, or similar flammable liquids indoors.
- Store flammable liquids in approved containers in well-ventilated storage areas.
- Never smoke near flammable liquids.
- Discard all rags or materials that have been soaked in flammable liquids after you have used them. Safely
discard them outdoors in a metal container.
- Insulate chimneys and place spark arresters on top. The chimney should be at least three feet higher than the
roof. Remove branches hanging above and around the chimney.
- Be careful when using alternative heating sources.
- Check with your local fire department on the legality of using kerosene heaters in your community. Be sure
to fill kerosene heaters outside, and be sure they have cooled.
- Place heaters at least three feet away from flammable materials. Make sure the floor and nearby walls are
- Use only the type of fuel designated for your unit and follow manufacturers instructions.
- Store ashes in a metal container outside and away from your residence.
- Keep open flames away from walls, furniture, drapery, and flammable items.
- Keep a screen in front of the fireplace.
- Have heating units inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.
Matches and Smoking
- Keep matches and lighters up high, away from children, and, if possible, in a locked cabinet.
- Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated. Provide smokers with deep, sturdy ashtrays. Douse cigarette
and cigar butts with water before disposal.
- Have the electrical wiring in your residence checked by an electrician.
- Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs.
- Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring.
- Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high-traffic areas.
- Do not overload extension cords or outlets. If you need to plug in two or three appliances, get a
UL-approved unit with built-in circuit breakers to prevent sparks and short circuits.
- Make sure insulation does not touch bare electrical wiring.
- Sleep with your door closed.
- Install A-B-C-type fire extinguishers in your residence and teach family members how to use them.
- Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your residence.
- Ask your local fire department to inspect your residence for fire safety and prevention.
What to do During a Fire
If your clothes catch on fire, you should:
To escape a fire, you should:
- Stop, drop, and roll - until the fire is extinguished. Running only makes the fire burn faster.
- Check closed doors for heat before you open them. If you are escaping through a closed door,
use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door
and door frame before you open it. Never use the palm of your hand or fingers to test for heat - burning
those areas could impair your ability to escape a fire (i.e., ladders and crawling).
Do not open. Escape through a window. If you cannot escape, hang a white or light-colored sheet
outside the window, alerting fire fighters to your presence.
Open slowly and ensure fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape route. If your escape route is blocked,
shut the door immediately and use an alternate escape route, such as a window. If clear, leave immediately
through the door and close it behind you. Be prepared to crawl. Smoke and heat rise. The air is clearer and
cooler near the floor.
- Crawl low under any smoke to your exit - heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.
- Close doors behind you as you escape to delay the spread of the fire.
- Stay out once you are safely out. Do not reenter. Call 9-1-1.
Click here for Wisconsin Wildfire Toolkit
The threat of woodland fires for people living near woodland areas or using recreational facilities
in wilderness areas is real. Dry conditions at various times of the year and in various parts of
Wisconsin greatly increase the potential for woodland fires.
Advance planning and knowing how to protect buildings in these areas can lessen the devastation of a
woodland fire. There are several safety precautions that you can take to reduce the risk of fire losses.
Protecting your home from wildfire is your responsibility. To reduce the risk, you'll need to consider
the fire resistance of your home, the topography of your property and the nature of the vegetation close by.
How can I protect myself from wildfire?
An influenza (flu) pandemic is a global outbreak of a new flu virus that can spread easily from person to person.
Like the seasonal flu many people experience every year, pandemic flu will probably spread by infected people
coughing or sneezing and by touching an infected surface. Unlike seasonal flu, people will have little immunity
to the new flu virus that causes a pandemic, and many more people will get sick.
Wisconsin is taking an aggressive approach to preparing for a pandemic flu outbreak
in humans or animals.
For comphrehensive information on Wisconsin's preparedness for pandemic, go to http://pandemic.wisconsin.gov
. Its important to know that there are
steps you and your family can take as well to help prepare for this threat, which are detailed below.
What To Expect In An Influenza Pandemic
When a flu pandemic occurs, it will likely be a prolonged and widespread outbreak that could require
temporary changes in many parts of our everyday lives, including schools, work, transportation and
other public services. Being informed and prepared for what will happen will decrease your risk.
The following are some situations to expect in a flu pandemic:
- Hospitals and doctors might be overwhelmed with sick patients.
- Schools and businesses might close to keep the virus from spreading or because too many people are sick.
- Essential supplies and services may become limited or unavailable.
- Travel and public gatherings might be limited to keep the virus from spreading.
- Public health officials may suggest using isolation or quarantine measures to control the spread of infection.
- There may not be a vaccine to protect people against the pandemic flu.
- Antiviral medicines may be in limited supply. If vaccines or antiviral medicines are available, you may be
asked to go to a certain community location to get vaccinated or receive the medicine.
- The pandemic could last a long time. Sometimes, there are several waves of illness that occur over a series
of months or even more than a year.
What To Do
Every Wisconsinite has an important role to play in preparing for a flu pandemic and helping
to prevent the spread of influenza:
- Get an emergency supply kit that includes enough provisions for you and your family to live on for a
minimum of three days.
- Make an emergency plan for you and your family.
- Practice good hygiene and wash your hands frequently.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Regularly clean surfaces that are touched by multiple people.
- Stay home from work or school when you are sick.
- Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise and getting enough rest.
- Get a yearly flu vaccination, especially if you are at high risk for flu complications.
- Discuss individual health concerns with your doctor.
- Plan to help your family, friends and neighbors, especially those who live alone or may need assistance in an emergency.
- Stay informed about pandemic influenza and be prepared to respond.
Technological Threats - Hazardous Materials
Click here for Wisconsin Chemical Release Toolkit
Wisconsin has many potential sources for technological threats:
- 3 active nuclear power plants
- 3,678 miles of railroad tracks
- 111,517 miles of roads and highways
- 150-200 airports
- Numerous active harbors along Lakes Superior and Michigan and the Mississippi River.
Chemicals are found everywhere. They:
- Purify drinking water
- Increase crop production
- Simplify household chores
But chemicals also can be hazardous to humans or the environment if used or released improperly.
Hazards can occur during:
You and your community are at risk if a chemical is used unsafely or released
in harmful amounts into the environment where you live, work, or play.
Hazardous materials in various forms can cause:
- Serious injury
- Long-lasting health effects
- Damage to buildings, homes, and other property.
Many products containing hazardous chemicals are used and stored in homes routinely. These products are
also shipped daily on the nation's highways, railroads, waterways, and pipelines.
Chemical manufacturers are one source of hazardous materials, but there are many others, including service
stations, hospitals, and hazardous materials waste sites.
Varying quantities of hazardous materials are manufactured, used, or stored at an estimated 4.5
million facilities in the United States--from major industrial plants to local dry cleaning
establishments or gardening supply stores.
Hazardous materials come in the form of:
- Flammable and combustible substances
- Radioactive materials.
These substances are most often released as a result of transportation accidents or because
of chemical accidents in plants.
How to prepare for a Hazardous Materials Emergency
- Determine how close you are to freeways, railroads or factories which may produce or transport
- Be prepared to evacuate for hours, days, or even weeks
- Prepare a go kit for yourself and your loved ones
- Develop an emergency plan and practice it
- Create plans and kits for your pets
- Have materials available to seal off your residence from airborne contamination in the event you are told
to "shelter in place"
What to do During a Hazardous Materials Incident
Listen to local radio or television stations for detailed information and instructions. Follow the
instructions carefully. You should stay away from the area to minimize the risk of contamination.
Remember that some toxic chemicals are odorless.
|If you are:
|Asked to evacuate
||Do so immediately.
Stay tuned to a radio or television for information on evacuation routes, temporary shelters, and procedures.
Follow the routes recommended by the authorities--shortcuts may not be safe. Leave at once.
If you have time, minimize contamination in the house by closing all windows, shutting all vents, and turning off attic fans.
Take pre-assembled disaster supplies.
Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people and people with disabilities.
||Stay upstream, uphill, and upwind! In general,
try to go at least one-half mile (usually 8-10 city blocks) from the danger area. Move away from
the accident scene and help keep others away.
Do not walk into or touch any spilled liquids, airborne mists, or condensed solid chemical deposits. Try
not to inhale gases, fumes and smoke. If possible, cover mouth with a cloth while leaving the area.
Stay away from accident victims until the hazardous material has been identified.
|In a motor vehicle
||Stop and seek shelter in a permanent building. If
you must remain in your car, keep car windows and vents closed and shut off the air conditioner and heater.
|Requested to stay indoors
||Bring pets inside.
Close and lock all exterior doors and windows. Close vents, fireplace dampers, and as many interior doors as possible.
Turn off air conditioners and ventilation systems. In large buildings, set ventilation systems to 100 percent recirculation so that no outside air is drawn into the building. If this is not possible, ventilation systems should be turned off.
Technological Threats - Radiological Threats
Know the Terms
Notification of Unusual Event
A small problem has occurred at the plant. No radiation leak is expected. No action on your part will be necessary.
A small problem has occurred, and small amounts of radiation could leak inside the plant. This will not
affect you and no action is required.
Site Area Emergency
Area sirens may be sounded. Listen to your radio or television for safety information.
Radiation could leak outside the plant and off the plant site. The sirens will sound. Tune to your local radio
or television station for reports. Be prepared to follow instructions promptly.
During a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency
Keep a battery-powered radio with you at all times and listen to the radio for specific instructions.
Cybercrime is defined as the use of a computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud,
trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property, stealing identities, or violating privacy. The following
tips and guidelines can help protect yourself and your loved ones from cybercrime:
Protect your children online
- Keep your computer in a central and open location
- Discuss and set guidelines/rules for computer use with your children
- Use the Internet with your children.
- Implement parental control tools that are provided by some ISP
- Consider software that allows you to monitor your children's email and web traffic.
- Consider partitioning your computer into separate
- Know who your children's online friends are and supervise their chat areas.
- Teach your children never to give out personal information
Use Strong Passwords
You should use passwords not only on your home computer but also for services you use elsewhere on the
Internet. All should have the strongest passwords you can use and remember, and each password should be
unique and unrelated to all other passwords. A strong password should be at least 8 characters long,
uses combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation, and is usually not a
word found in a dictionary. Don't use the same user name and password on multiple websites. Hackers can find
that information on one site to get to critical information on other sites.
Keep your web browsers and operating system up to date
Vendors often release patches and updates for their software when a vulnerability has been discovered.
Some companies release updates at a certain time each month. Many applications can be configured to
automatically check for available updates. Another option is to periodically check the vendor's web site
for information about software updates.
Know who you're dealing with online
Don't Run Programs of Unknown Origin
Never run a program unless you know it to be authored by a person or company that you trust. Also, don't
send programs of unknown origin to your friends or coworkers simply because they are amusing -- they might
contain malicious software (malware).
Phishing - bait or prey?
"Phishers" send spam or pop-up messages claiming to be from a business or organization that you might
deal with for example, an Internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government
agency. The message usually says that you need to "update" or "validate" your account information.
Don't take the bait: don't open unsolicited or unknown email messages; don't open attachments from people
you don't know or don't expect; and never reply to or click on links in email or pop-ups that ask for personal
Free Software and File-Sharing - worth the hidden costs?
Every day, millions of computer users share files online. File-sharing can give people access to a wealth
of information, including music, games, and software. How does it work? You download special software that
connects your computer to an informal network of other computers running the same software. Millions of users
could be connected to each other through this software at one time. Often the software is free and easily
But file-sharing can have a number of risks. If you don't check the proper settings, you could allow access
not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive, like your tax
returns, email messages, medical records, photos, or other personal documents.
In addition, you may unwittingly download pornography labeled as something else. Or you may download material
that is protected by the copyright laws, which would mean you could be breaking the law.
Use security software tools as your first line of defense
Use Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software programs are developed to detect and remove computer viruses and other virus-related
software from users' computers.
Install and Use a Firewall
- Configure your anti-virus software to perform a full system virus scan on a weekly basis.
- Confirm that your anti-virus definition files are up to date.
- Ensure that "Automatic Update" settings are configured and that updates are being applied.
A firewall controls the flow of information that travel between your computer and the Internet. When
information coming into (or going out of) your computer is not obeying the "safety rules," the firewall
can block the information to help protect your computer from unauthorized and potentially dangerous material.
Back Up Important Files and Folders
Keep a copy of important files on removable media such as ZIP disks or recordable CD-ROM disks (CD-R or
CDRW disks). Use software backup tools if available, and store the backup disks in another location such
as a fireproof safe, safety deposit box or at your child or parent's home.
Don't Open Unknown Email
This mail may use the return address of someone you know or has a provocative subject line. The sender is
trying to encourage you to open the letter, read its contents, and click on a link to a malicious website
or open an attachment that will install malware on your computer. If you must open an attachment before
you can verify the source:
- Be sure your virus definitions are up-to-date
- Save the file to your hard disk
- Scan the file using your antivirus software
- Open the file
Secure Your Wireless Network
An unsecured wireless network can give hackers access to your computer in order to steal personal information
or to upload malware onto your computer. To secure your wireless network, be sure to enable encryption, change
the default password that comes with your wireless device, change the Service Set Identifier name (SSID), turn
off SSID broadcasting and use MAC filtering. Your wireless device manual will have directions on how to implement
these security settings.
Take Precautions with Mobile Computing
Laptops, PDAs and Cell Phones are more easily stolen or misplaced because of their size. Remember, if
your laptop is gone, your data is too. Beyond the simple loss of the data stored on your hard drive,
someone else could have access to:
- Your online bank account
- Your online brokerage account
- The list of passwords you store in Word or Excel
- Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address
- All your e-mail correspondence
- Your personal accounting or tax data If you are using a laptop remember:
- Protect information stored on the laptop with a secure password. It should consist of a combination
of numbers and upper and lower-case letters
- Encrypt confidential information.
- Be sure that all important data contained on the laptop is backed up
- Keep it with you during air and vehicle travel until it can be locked up safely
Learn what to do if something goes wrong
Unfortunately, there is no particular way to identify that your computer has been infected with malicious
code. Some infections may completely destroy files and shut down your computer, while others may only subtly
affect your computer's normal operations. Be aware of any unusual or unexpected behaviors.
Know who to contact if you believe your child is in danger.
Visit www.getnetwise.org for
detailed information. If you know of a child in immediate risk or danger, call law enforcement immediately.
Please report instances of online child exploitation to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's
Cyber Tipline. Even though children may have better technical skills, don't be intimidated by their knowledge.
Children still need advice, guidance, and protection. Keep the lines of communication open and let your child
know that you can be approached with any questions they may have about behaviors or problems encountered on
Hacking or Computer Virus
If your computer gets hacked or infected by a virus:
- Immediately unplug the phone or cable line from your machine. Then scan your entire computer with fully
updated anti-virus software, and update your firewall.
- Take steps to minimize the chances of another incident
- Alert the appropriate authorities by contacting:
- Your ISP and the hacker's ISP (if you can tell what it is). Often the ISP's email address is
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can probably confirm it by looking at the
ISP's website. Include information on the incident from your firewall's log file. By alerting the
ISP to the problem on its system, you can help it prevent similar problems in the future.
- The FBI at www.ifccfbi.gov. To fight computer criminals, they need to hear from you.
If a scammer takes advantage of you through an Internet auction, when you're shopping online, or in any other
way, report it to the Federal Trade Commission, at
http://ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, identity theft, and other
fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and
criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
If you get deceptive spam, including email phishing for your information, forward it to
email@example.com. Be sure to include the full Internet header of
the email. In many email programs, the full "Internet header" is not automatically included in forwarded email
messages, so you may need to take additional measures to include the full information needed to detect deceptive
spam. For further information, go to
Divulged Personal Information
If you believe you have mistakenly given your information to a fraudster, file a complaint at
http://ftc.gov, and then visit the Federal Trade
Commission's Identity Theft website at
to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from a potential theft of your identity.
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