Winter storms can bring freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds, and other dangerous conditions. These in turn can cause power outages and road blockages, affecting daily life. Preparing for these storms in advance can help reduce their hazards.
Prepare Your Home:
- Make sure your home is well insulated with weather stripping around doors and windowsills.
- Use one or more carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. Check their batteries on a regular basis.
- If your home has a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned and inspected prior to winter season.
- Be careful with space heaters. Avoid unattended use or use in children’s rooms.
- Keep extra blankets and firewood handy.
- Store a generous supply of canned and other packaged goods.
Prepare Your Vehicle:
- Winterize your vehicle: Have a mechanic check antifreeze, brakes, heater and defroster, tires, and windshield wipers to ensure they are in good shape. Keep your gas tank at least half full.
- Keep an extra Ready Kit in the trunk of your car. In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding a portable cell phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction, and jumper cables.
- Make sure you have a cell phone with an emergency charging option in case of a power failure.
During Winter Storms:
- Use websites, apps, and social media, or listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local television news to stay informed of weather alerts and advisories. Follow advice of local authorities.
- Check on neighbors who live alone, or those with functional needs, and help out.
- Bring pets inside and make plans for livestock.
- Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
- Winter storms can cause power outages. Exercise caution when using alternative light and heating sources. Use flashlights over candles. Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Watch for frostbite. Warning signs include white or grayish-yellow skin, numbness, and skin that feels unusually firm or waxy. If symptoms are detected, call 911. If medical help is not available, get the victim to a warm location and immerse the affected area in warm water. Do not rub the frostbitten area; this could cause more damage.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia, including shivering, memory loss, fumbling hands, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If the victim’s body temperature is below 95 degrees, call 911. If medical help is not available, get the victim to a warm location, and keep him or her warm and hydrated.