Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Eagle Butte

Weathering winter storms preparation reminder

In preparation for this winter’s storms, snow plows are ready to cover Highway 212 from Gettysburg to Faith, South Dakota.

Eight to twelve inches of heavy snow was expected to fall in the first heavy snow of late 2018, beginning winter in earnest before the New Year holiday.

Many drivers are well-versed about ways to survive sometimes treacherous conditions. This reminder provides some methods that may yet prove helpful.

In the event of an unforeseen incident it is always good to prepare vehicles.

Keep one or two heavy blankets in the car, as well as hats, gloves, scarves and good snow boots–if you aren’t already wearing some. Bring fresh water with you on each trip. Keep snacks that won’t freeze in the car, such as protein bars, crackers, jerky, nuts or dried fruit. To keep varmints out, store food in an airtight container they can’t chew through.

Remember, if your car breaks down, slides off the road, or is otherwise unable to move due to snowy roads, it is safer to stay in the car until the storm passes. Do not try to walk to the nearest home in the midst of a storm.

Check the tailpipe of the car every hour or so to be sure it isn’t filled with snow. Doing this will stop carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust backing up into the vehicle. If possible try to point the vehicle into the wind.

Have matches in the car stored in a sealed plastic bag and/or a working lighter in one of your pockets (otherwise it may not light). Keep a candle in the car. One multi-wick candle lit in an enclosed space can generate enough heat to keep you alive in temperatures above zero until help comes.

Do NOT fall asleep with the candle burning. If you choose to use this method, try and keep a small fire extinguisher handy. Crack a window from time to time for some ventilation. More information on methods to stay warm are available through North Dakota State University at

Keep your phones charged and make sure you have one on you if you need to call for help.

Be sure your vehicle has gas, refueling before the snow sticks.

Between storms, when the roads are safe, make sure your home is stocked with food and goods in case of power outages. Try to plan for two to three days.

In the winter of 2010, Swift Bird was snowed in for nearly a month, only four-wheel drive and emergency vehicles were able to access the community.

Keep candles and flashlights on hand to see during dark hours.

Pick a location in the home to gather family and camp out until the power can be restored.

Having a large meal created and ready to eat by simply warming it up can go a long ways towards maintaining health and happiness in the home.

Many reservation homes are warmed with propane heat. Though the power may be out, propane stoves can still be used to heat the kitchen and living room areas. Blankets can be hung in the hallway to trap the heat where the family is. Cooking is still possible in this situation.

Hand warmers are also very good to keep on hand in the car and in the home this time of year in case of emergency.

If you are in need of any of these emergency supplies please contact Tribal Health Department at (605) 964-0788, the Chairman’s office (605) 964-4155 or your local council representative (605) 964-6685, for more information.