Be Prepared for the Hazards of Winter

Winter vacation

Now that Winter is here it’s a good idea to be prepared for any impending hazards from storms and cold temperatures. Winterizing your home and vehicles, and planning for power outages will help to keep you and your family safe when temperatures start to drop. Here are some tips:

Power Outages and Other Emergencies

  • Keep an emergency kit in your house that includes:
    • A battery-operated flashlight
    • A battery-powered National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio
    • Battery-powered lamps
    • Extra batteries
    • First-aid kit
    • Extra medicines for family members who require them
    • Instant ice packs to keep any medicines that require refrigeration cool
    • Cat litter or sand for icy walkways
  • Purchase a generator (set up at least 20 feet from your house)
  • Install a CO detector (leave your home immediately if it sounds, and call 911).
  • Stock non-perishable food and clean drinking water.

House & Home

  • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside.
  • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
  • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
  • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
  • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
  • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
  • Install weather stripping, insulation and storm windows.
  • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
  • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.


  • Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. The kit should include:
    • Cell phone (with portable charger and extra batteries)
    • Blankets
    • Water and food
    • Booster cables
    • Flares
    • Air Compressor
    • Bag of sand or cat litter (for traction)
    • Compass
    • Flashlight
    • Battery-powered radio (with extra batteries)
    • First-aid kit
    • Plastic bags (for waste)
  • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
  • Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level.
  • Check tire tread and replace tires with all-weather or snow tires if needed.

 Winter Travel

  • Check current and forecast weather conditions when preparing to travel.
  • Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
  • Check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards –

young children, older adults and the chronically ill.

  • Bring pets inside or provide a warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.
  • Inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
  • If you are stranded in your car:
    • Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away, but continue to move arms and legs.
    • Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
    • Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
    • Keep a downwind window open.
    • Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.

Source: CDC


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