Winter Storm Safety: Staying Safe
Winter weather is a dangerous time. It can be deceptively beautiful yet crippling and paralyzing to entire cities. Make sure you know how to survive a winter storm. The impacts are great and can range from extreme cold temperatures to blizzards and blocked roadways. Have a plan and keep your family safe.
1. Never underestimate a winter storm. Prepare for the worst.
2. Know the difference between watches and warnings and what each one means.
WINTER STORM WATCH- Alerts you that a winter storm is possible in your area.
WINTER STORM WARNING- Alerts you that a winter storm is occurring or will occur in your area.
BLIZZARD WARNING- Sustained winds of 35 mph or greater and considerable snowfall or blowing snow expected to continue for 3 hours or more.
FROST WARNING- Near freezing temperatures are expected in your area.
FREEZE WARNING- Below freezing temperatures are expected. Know your 5 P’s.
- Protect People
- Protect Pets
- Protect Plants
- Protect Exposed Pipes
- Practice Fire Safety
3. Have your safety supply kit stocked and ready. For a safety kit checklist, please click here.
4. Keep rock salt handy to melt ice on walkways- keep shovels to shovel snow- and sand to improve traction.
5. Keep wood close by and dry for wood burning stoves and fireplaces. (Make sure rooms are well ventilated- Carbon monoxide detectors may not be working if electricity is out)
6. Keep an extra supply of drinking water in case you become isolated in your home.
7. Have emergency heating equipment and fuel (again make sure rooms are adequately ventilated)
8. Keep fire extinguishers nearby and make sure everyone in your home knows how to use them. Make sure they are serviced and in working order.
9. Do not burn charcoal grills indoors.
10. Prepare your home against the cold weather:
- Insulate walls and attics
- Have storm windows installed or cover windows with plastic
- Caulk and weather-strip around doors and windows
- Make sure you have your furnace checked prior to winter
- Have a chimney sweep inspect your fireplace for build-up of soot and creosote
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Insulate exposed pipes
- Purchase a generator
11. Use indoor candles and have an extra supply of matches handy
12. Keep important phone numbers close by including those for utility companies.
13. Know how to turn off water valves in case a pipe burst
14. Keep extra blankets around
15. Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight clothing. Wear mittens instead of gloves if possible. Keep a hat on your head to hold in your body heat and wear a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs. Wear water repellent outerwear.
16. Keep a winter safety survival kit in your vehicle- this should include:
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Brightly colored scrap cloth or bandana to tie to you antenna should you become standed
- Extra change of clothing
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Tow rope/chain
- Shovel and sand
- Non- perishable foods
- Water and a can and matches in case you need to melt snow for drinking water
17. Space heaters should be used with extreme caution. Keep furniture, children and pets at least 3 feet way at all times.
18. Consider all winter weather impacts- wind chills, blowing snow, poor visibility, ice, storm surge, flooding, blocked roadways, closed highways, downed power lines.