Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds.
A winter storm can:
- Last a few hours or several days;
- Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and
- Place older adults, young children, and sick individuals at greater risk.
- Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time.
- Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
- Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
- Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.
- Learn the signs of, and basic treatments for, frostbite and hypothermia. For more visit: READY/WINTER
Prepare for the winter stor by downloading this PDF: Winter prepared
The National Safety Council suggests the below tips to prepare your car:
Prepare Your Car for Winter
In addition to annual maintenance, here are some tips to winterize your car:
- Test your battery; battery power drops as the temperature drops
- Make sure the cooling system is in good working order
- Have winter tires with a deeper, more flexible tread put on your car
- If using all-season tires, check the tread on your tires and replace if less than 2/32 of an inch
- Check the tire pressure; tire pressure drops as the temperature drops
- Check your wiper blades and replace if needed
- Add wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze
Remember to keep your car’s emergency preparedness kit fully stocked, too.
Severe winter weather can include snow or subfreezing temperatures, strong winds and ice or heavy rain storms. An emergency supply kit both at home and in the car will help prepare people for winter power outages and icy or impassable roads.
An emergency supply kit should include a three-five day supply of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra flashlights and batteries. Thoroughly check and update your family’s emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:
- Rock salt to melt ice on walkways;
- Sand to improve traction;
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment;
- And adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm.
- Ensure your family preparedness plan and contacts are up to date and exercise your plan. Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government, and ensure your home and car are prepared for the winter weather.
Finally, everyone should get familiar with the terms that are used to identify a winter storm hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe a winter storm hazard include the following:
- Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
- Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
- Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
- Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
- Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
Prepare your home
Winterize Your Home When you put on your winter weather gear to stay warm outside, colder temperatures can mean an increase in energy use to stay warm inside. If you prepare properly, heating your home doesn’t have to break the bank. As the mercury dips, ready your abode for sweater weather by following these easy steps to winterize your home:
Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic;
Allow faucets to drip a little to prevent pipes from freezing.
Cover windows with plastic to keep the cold air out. You may choose to use indoor space heaters for added warmth. If not used properly, space heaters can be a very dangerous fire hazard. When purchasing a space heater, look for one that has an automatic shut-off or tip-over switch. Place the heater on a level surface away from high-traffic areas and flammable items such as curtains, bedding or furniture. To help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure the room has enough ventilation.
Get in the energy-saving spirit by conducting a home energy assessment. See how much energy your home consumes and evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy-efficient. Then, check out “12 Days of Energy Savings” from the U.S. Department of Energy to learn things you can do to stay warm while saving money this winter.
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