Indianapolis crews prepare for winter weather

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indianapolis Department of Public Works is preparing for wet weekend weather and falling temperatures.

The department will bring in a full call-out of Snow Force winter weather staff Sunday morning to begin pre-treating snow routes. During this call-out, 80 truck drivers will work in 12-hour shifts to address major thoroughfares and secondary streets across Marion County.

Drivers will clear any snow accumulation through late Monday night and into Tuesday. People can track the plow trucks with the Indy Snow Force Viewer to see what streets have been plowed or treated.

The department reminds people to report tree debris or high water in the roadway to the Mayor’s Action Center at 317-327-4622 or by RequestIndy. Press option 2 after hours to be connected to DPW Dispatch.

Drivers are also reminded to drive carefully while sharing the road with DPW trucks. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) said before leaving home, people should find out about the driving conditions. If the weather is bad, they should follow INDOT’s slogan: ice and snow, take it slow.

Before hitting the road, INDOT says people should remove any snow on their windows, lights, brake lights and signals. They should also check their vehicle’s wipers, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses to make sure they won’t have a breakdown on the road.  People should also keep a winter survival kit in their vehicle.

After hitting the road, INDOT says people should leave plenty of time to reach their destination safely. They should also be on the lookout for hazards along the road including:

  • First Snow or Ice:  INDOT says drivers are often unprepared for winter driving and forget to take it slow.  They remind people to drive well below the posted speed limit and leave plenty of room between cars.
  • Black Ice:  Roads that seem dry may actually be slippery – and dangerous.  INDOT reminds people to take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady areas. All of these locations are hot spots for black ice.
  • Limited Visibility: INDOT reminds drivers to stay attentive and reduce their speed.  Know what’s going on around you.
  • Four-Wheel Drive:  On snow and ice, go slowly, no matter what type of vehicle you drive.  INDOT says even if you have an SUV with four-wheel drive you may not be able to stop any faster, or maintain control any better, once you lose traction.  Four-wheel drive may get you going faster, but it won’t help you stop sooner.

The Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety offers these safety tips, too:

Heating your home:

  • When using a space heater, remember to keep a clear three-foot perimeter, plug the space heater directly into a wall outlet, keep pets and children away from the heater, and never leave it unattended.
  • Never use a stove, oven, or candle to heat your home.
  • Residents who may lack adequate heating should make plans to seek alternate overnight shelter beginning Saturday. Residents in need of warm shelter can call Connect2Help by dialing 2-1-1.
  • Many household fires are preventable. Residents are asked to make sure smoke detectors are in working order. If you need a smoke detector, please call IFD’s Fire and Life Safety Division at 317-327-6093.

Staying safe outdoors:

  • Check the weather forecast frequently and dress accordingly. In the expected extreme cold over the weekend, the National Weather Service recommends dressing in layers, covering exposed skin to reduce your risk of frostbite or hypothermia, and changing into dry clothing immediately upon returning indoors if you are wet.
  • When outdoors for an extended period of time, take frequent “warm up” breaks.
  • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia and seek immediate medical attention if they are detected.

Vulnerable populations:

  • Residents are encouraged to check on elderly or disabled family members and neighbors.
  • Residents in need of warm shelter can visit malls, libraries, and Indy Parks facilities during normal business hours. A list of Indy Parks facilities and hours is attached, and Indy Public Library hours can be found here. Residents may also call 211 for help finding warm shelter.
  • Citizens with disabilities or those who may need non-emergency medical or health-related assistance during winter weather events should call 211.

Utilities:

  • Any power outages or downed power lines should be reported to IPL immediately by calling 317-261-8111.
  • Maintain a moderate temperature in your home or leave a slow drip on all faucets to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Clear snow from around fire hydrants so they can be quickly accessed in the case of an emergency. During extreme temperature periods, a Citizens Energy Group hydrant specialist will respond on all working fires to be available should the need arise for help with water access issues.

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