KSNF/KODE — The state Department of Health and Senior Services says last year, more than 50 people died in Missouri as a result of prolonged exposure to cold weather.

Experts with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) say there are things you can do to prevent that from happening to you. 

Missouri Winter Weather Preparedness Week runs November 6-10. Each day SEMA and the National Weather Service (NWS) are offering a variety of winter weather topics through social media, like ‘winter weather terminology,’ ‘ice safety,’ and ‘extreme cold, hypothermia and frostbite.’ The goal is to provide you with the information you’ll need to keep you and your family safe as temperatures drop in the coming weeks. 

One way you can do that is by creating a family emergency plan and emergency kit.

SEMA recommends keeping bottled water, canned and dry foods, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, a manual can opener, and a first-aid kit in a place where it can be easily grabbed in the event of an emergency.

They also suggest an emergency kit for your car or truck, containing many of the same items, along with a blanket, jumper cables, and flares. 

Road safety is another major concern during adverse winter weather. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, preliminary results show there were more than 7,500 vehicle crashes in 2022 in which snow, sleet hail, or ice played a role. Those crashes resulted in 51 deaths and nearly 2,000 injuries.

SEMA suggests avoiding any non-essential travel during winter storms. Not only does staying home keep you safe, SEMA says it also allows crews to clear roads faster — since they won’t have to work around stranded vehicles. 

For more winter weather preparedness tips, click here.