Winter Season Preparation
Prepare for Winter's Arrival
- Make sure your Household Disaster Plan is ready and all members of your household are familiar with how to contact one another in an emergency.
- Your emergency supply kit should be fully-stocked to allow you to sustain yourself for up to three days without power, or in the event you are unable to travel far from home. You may wish to include additional items such as extra blankets, additional warm clothing, and a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio to monitor weather conditions during a storm.
Winterize Your Home
- Clean out gutters; repair any roof leaks; and have a contractor check the stability of your roof in the event of a large accumulation of snow.
- Insulate walls and attic. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Have safe emergency heating equipment available. For residences with functioning fireplaces, keep an ample supply of wood. Utilize portable electric space heaters. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Install and check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; you may have difficulty obtaining fuel in the immediate aftermath of a bad storm.
- Service snow removal equipment, and have rock salt on hand to melt ice on walkways. Kitty litter can be used to generate temporary traction.
Winterize Your Car
Before winter sets in, have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle:
- Windshield wipers and washer fluid
- Ignition system
- Lights (headlamps and hazard lights)
- Exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster
- Oil level
- Install good winter tires that have adequate tread
Regardless of the season, it's a good idea to prepare for an in-car emergency. Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for your vehicle, and consider adding the following items for winter conditions:
- Blankets, sleeping bags, extra newspapers for insulation
- Plastic bags (for sanitation)
- Extra mittens, socks, scarves and hat, raingear and extra clothes
- Sack of sand or kitty litter for gaining traction under wheels, small shovel
- Set of tire chains or traction mats
- Working jack and lug wrench, spare tire
- Windshield scraper, broom
- Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)
- Booster cables
- Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag, flares or reflective triangles
What To Do Before A Storm Strikes
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio and your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. Know what winter storm watches and warnings mean.
- Check on relatives, friends, and neighbors who may need assistance preparing for a storm.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions and avoid unnecessary travel.
- Let faucets drip a little to help prevent freezing.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Tips for Staying Warm
Exposure to cold can cause life-threatening health conditions. Avoid serious conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia, by keeping warm. Make sure that you and those you are responsible for (e.g. children and elderly):
- Wear a hat, hood, or scarf, as most heat is lost through the head.
- Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth.
- Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.
- Keep clothing dry; if a layer becomes wet, remove it.
Snow Removal Safety Tips
- Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This may prevent injury.
- Cover your mouth. Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by covering your mouth when outdoors.
- Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unfamiliar exercise, such as shoveling snow or pushing a car, can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Take frequent rest breaks, and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothes frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Stay safe. Walk carefully on snowy or icy sidewalks. If using a snowblower, NEVER use your hands to unclog the machine.
- Maintain an awareness of utilities when shoveling snow. Do not cover fire hydrants with snow when clearing sidewalks and driveways.
- Offer to help individuals who require special assistance, including seniors and people with disabilities.