Iowa winters can usually guarantee snow, extreme wind, and extreme cold, but that combination can turn dangerous for travelers who are unprepared. Emergency managers want you to make sure you have what you need to keep you and your family safe should an unforeseen emergency occur.
Polk County Emergency Management’s Deputy Director, Dutch Geisinger says the first thing you should do is make sure somebody knows your travel plans before you head out. “Make sure that you call them and let them know when you’ve arrived safely. But the five most important I would say make sure that you’re dressed appropriately when you leave but carry that extra warm weather gear, boots, long underwear, coveralls and an extra shirt coat, those types of things…hats and gloves are very, very important. Water, non perishable food items are very important to have,” said Geisinger.
Before you plan to travel, make sure your tires and windshield wipers are in good condition, and always be sure to clear any frost or snow from your windshield. Failure to do so may have severe consequences. Geisinger said, “The consequences are dire. I mean we’re talking situations where people have frozen as a result of being out in the cold temperatures. Having no gas in the car, no way to get warm. We’ve got to make sure that we keep our family safe.”
During times of extreme cold, Polk County does have warming centers available for free. You can find a list of them here.