Winter Preparedness

Winter storms are a natural event occurring during winter months of the year. It can bring on strong winds, frigid temperatures which can lead to power outages in homes. Winter storms can create high risk for car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion.  Winter storms can cut out power and communication, lead to icy roads, and possible damage to property. Pay attention to winter storm warnings which are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a winter storm. 

Prevent hypothermia by limiting time out in the cold or by wearing appropriate clothing on body and extremities, like winter gloves and insulating boots or shoes. 

Prepare for Winter Weather

  • Check for winter storm warnings/advisory for any heavy snow or blizzard, freezing rain, sleet, ice, and high winds
    1. Winter watches are usually issues 12-48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm
  • Create an emergency supply kit for your home, work and in your car
  • A winter storm can
    1. Last few hours or for several days
    2. Cut off power, heat and communication services
    3. Put older adults, children sick individuals and pets at risk
  • A winter storm can be dangerous
    1. Stay off roads if possible
    2. Limit your time outside
    3. Avoid overexertion when shoveling and walking in the snow

In case of an emergency, plan for an emergency supply kit for your car: 

  • Jumper cables
  • shovel 
  • snow broom and ice scraper
  • warm clothes, bottled water, snacks 
  • full tank of gas 

Prepare Your Car: 

  • Check your tires:
    1. Air pressure in tires drop with colder temperatures
    2. Make sure your tires have enough tread for winter driving
  • Keep your gas tank full to prevent ice in the tank and fuel lines
  • Check antifreeze levels
  • Have an extra shovel in your car for emergencies (not in DHS)
  • Replace windshield wipers with wintertime mixture to withstand cold temperatures
  • Equip your car with an emergency kit including
    1. First aid kit
    2. Blanket
    3. Flashlight
    4. Extra batteries
    5. Portable charger
    6. Emergency flare
    7. Snacks/non-perishable food
    8. Water

Prepare Your Home 

  • Check your window and door frames to ensure insulation
  • Have your furnace and vents inspected to confirm they function properly
  • Check and/or replace batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Heat your home safely
    1. Using gas stove for heat is NOT safe
    2. If using fireplaces, wood stoves or other combustion heaters, make sure they are properly vented to the outside
      • There should be no gas leakage into indoor spaces
      • Do not burn paper in a fireplace
      • Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from drapes, furniture, or bedding
      • Never cover your space heater and keep away from any flammable materials
      • Don’t leave children unattended near a space heater
      • Do not use space heater if electrical cord is damaged or produce sparks
      • In case of emergency, make sure there are extra blankets, sleeping bags, warm winter coats
      • If using kerosene heaters, check with your local fire department to make sure it is legal in your area

What is hypothermia?

  • Unusual low body temperature. If temperature below 95 degrees, this is considered an emergency
  • Signs: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, drowsiness, slurred speech
  • What to do: Warm up!
    1. Warm center of the body first (chest-neck-head-groin)
    2. Keep dry
    3. Keep head and neck warm (wrap in blankets)


What is frostbite?

  • Loss of color and sensation or feeling on face, fingers and toes
  • Signs: numbness, firm or waxy skin, white or grey-yellowish skin
  • What to do: Warm up!
    1. Go to a warm room
    2. Use body heat to warm up
    3. DO NOT massage or use heating pad

Additional Information: