Winter Storm Survival Tips from the OVFD.

Winter storms can be a fun with the family or a devastating emergency. How well you prepare for the storm is a major factor in determining which experience you will have.

When storms arrive, you could be trapped in your home for several days. Plan to be self-sufficient by having the supplies you will need.

Severe Weather Kit

Assemble a severe weather kit for your house with essentials.

  • A battery-operated or win-up radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries*
  • Matches
  • Non-perishable foods that don’t need refrigeration or cooking*
  • Can opener (non electric)
  • Bottled water*
  • Fire extinguisher
    • *replace every 6 months

As the storm approaches

Go shopping to make sure you have enough of the following supplies:

  • Prescription medications
  • Infant formula (and bottled water to mix with)
  • Diapers
  • Extra bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)

Preparing your house

It isn’t any good to plan to stay in your home if your home is not safe to stay in. A little extra work outside will make your home safer.

  • Remove dead tree branches. Ice and snow can cause them to snap.
  • Clean gutters. Clutter can cause melting snow and ice to back up and damage your home.
  • Check vents to make sure they are clear. Clogged vents can cause a build up of toxic gases in your home.
  • If the power goes out for an extended time, drain the pipes to avoid freezing.
  • If your pipes do freeze, never try to thaw them with a blow torch or open flame.
  • Check your smoke detectors and CO detectors. If you don’t have a CO detector, consider getting one.
  • Store important documents in a waterproof location or a safety deposit box.

Heating your home

  • Have plenty of blankets, sleeping bags, and sweaters handy to stay warm.
  • Close doors to rooms you don’t plan to use to keep heat concentrated.
  • Keep space heaters away from walls and flammables like curtains or furniture.
  • Don’t use extension cords with your electric space heaters.
  • Never use your stove or oven to heat your house.

During the storm

  • Drifting snow can close vents. Keep them open to avoid toxic gas buildup.
  • Keep fire hydrants outside your home clear of snow. If a fire does start, this could save your house.

If you must leave your house

  • Don’t overexert yourself. Heart attacks are common in people who work outside in the cold.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. It is better to arrive late than not at all.
  • Clear off your car windows and lights so you can see and be seen.
  • If you are not in town, never leave your car in favor of walking. You have better odds of being found if you stay with your car.
  • Wear bright colored clothes to be more easily seen.

OVFD reminds everyone to be safe with controlled burns

April 2012

The recent wildland fire in Colorado highlights the threat of our unseasonably warm, dry winter. Keith County has also experienced the same dry conditions responsible for the rapid growth of the Lower North Fork Fire which burned 4,100 acres and 27 homes.

Area departments have been concerned about the many Red Flag Warnings already issued this year. Red Flag Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service for warm temperatures, low humidity, and high winds.

The Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department has already responded to multiple grass fires started by controlled burns that have gotten out of hand.

Controlled burns may be permissible in the Ogallala Fire District, but please be remember a few requirements:

  • All controlled open burns must have a burn permit. Permits in the Ogallala Fire District can be obtained at the City offices after review by the Fire Chief or their assistant. It may be possible that a permit be denied and or revoked due to existing or surrounding conditions or material being burned.
  • Possession of a burn permit does not mean it is safe to burn. The person named on the burn permit is responsible if the fire becomes uncontrollable and causes damage. Please exercise caution.
  • Move burn barrels or piles away from structures.
  • Prepare the site for burning by clearing fuel from around the burn location.
  • Have a water supply on hand sufficient enough to put out your fire.
  • Do not burn on windy days. If the wind regularly exceeds 10 mph do not start your burn or put out your fire if it is already lit.
  • Plan your burn for the mornings when the humidity is higher.
  • Never leave a burn unattended for any reason.
  • Make sure the burn is out cold. Pockets of burning material can smolder for days before reigniting.

Due to the prolonged dry conditions, please be safe with all open burns.

Smoke Detectors | Print |  E-mail


March 2012

It’s that time of year to change your clocks to Daylight Savings Time. As you set your clocks forward one hour, remember to also change your smoke detector batteries.

The peak time for fire fatalities nationwide is between 11pm and 7am. Nearly eighty percent of child fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke detectors.

With lightning speed, a small smoldering fire can spread to engulf an entire room.

“Give yourself more time to escape a fire, have a working smoke detector near each bedroom and on each level of your home” advocates Interim Chief Ken Knoepfel.

The Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department reminds you to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and make sure your smoke detectors are fully functioning. Test them once a month and keep them free of dust and debris.

For more information, check out our following links:

The US Fire Administration's smoke detector information page. Has information regarding selection and placement of smoke detectors.

Fire Facts has many facts about smoke detectors and fires.


Chief Dell Simmerman

409 East 2nd Street
Ogallala, Nebraska 69153
Phone: 308.284.4553
After Hours: 308.284.2024
Fax: 308.284.3718

© 2016 Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department