Be Prepared For Winter Weather

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Emergency officials say safety depends on being prepared when the worst of a storm hits.

Officials in Topeka keep a close eye on those sort of situations.

Governor Sam Brownback, the Red Cross and emergency agenciues want you to know they are ready to help you if the snow creates an emergency.

Words of advice from the Governor, "if you don't have to travel, don't travel."

The state activated its Emergency Operation Center with blizzard-like conditions expected to sweep through the state. officials urge citizens to prepare, prepare, prepare.

"If people are real sensible about it, most things will be fine," Governor Brownback said, "but you get the unexpected and we will be as prepared as we can be."

He signed an emergency declaration for all 105 counties, so that each receives enough help.

"I want to make sure we get through these things as safe as we can and a lot of that is trying to warn people and the public ahead of time."

This means, stay off the roads so road crews can work efficiently, but have a full tank if you are stuck. Also, make sure you have all the essentials if you get snowed-in at home.

The American Red Cross of Topeka already has cots, blankets, medical supplies and food ready to go, should Emergency Management need to open a shelter.

Renee Aldrich, Emergency Services Coordinator, is an expert with emergencies and disaster situations. "Right now everything's okay," she said. "We're just waiting to see where it hits, what the population wil be and when and where we can open a shelter - if we need to."

Red Cross staff will send out alerts to television and radio stations, as well as update Facebook and Twitter.

"Since we know it's coming, it's time to prepare now," Communications Director Megan Spreer said. "People don't remember the little extra thnigs that they should do. They don't realize they should have the food and making sure [they have] medications, and if you have a small child, diapers and formula. Things like that."

For questions on where to go if power is out or if someone is in need of shelter assistance, call 1-800-RedCross. Law enforcement is always ready and available to help as well.

The Red Cross also has a free app that shows where shelters are located, if any open. Tips on how to prepare and stay safe are listed on the app.