Preparing for a Winter Storm
During extremely cold weather or winter storm, staying warm and safe can be a challenge. Winter storms can create higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, you should know how to prepare your home and your car before a winter storm hits.
Make a Plan
Be prepared to shelter at home, at work and in your car in case of severe weather.
Items for winter storms to add to your disaster kit include additional non-perishable food and water for one or two weeks, extra blankets, coats, gloves, winter hats, and water-resistant boots. Also, put together a disaster supply kit for your car as well.
Open cabinet doors below sinks and let faucets drip if temperatures remain below freezing for a day or more.
Keep your cellphone charged.
Make sure elderly family members, friends and neighbors are prepared for the storm, and check on them during and after the storm.
If it is too cold for you then it is probably too cold for your pets, bring your pets indoor if possible.
Stay Safe Indoors
Heat your home safely
Turning on the stove to heat your home is not safe. Have your heating system serviced by a qualified technician every year. Use a fireplace but do not burn paper in it. Use a metal grate to hold logs inside fireplaces. Use an approved metal or glass screen in front of the fireplaces to prevent embers from flying out of the firebox and into the home.
Use electric space heaters. Make sure to keep them away from any flammable materials like curtains or blankets and do not place space heaters on top of furniture. Never leave children unattended near a space heater and make sure that the cord of an electric heater is not a tripping hazard, but do not run the cord under carpets or rugs.
Light your home safely
If there is a power failure:
Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns rather than candles, if possible. Candles can lead to house fires. If you do use candles, do not leave lit candles unattended.
Use generators and other appliances safely
Never use generators, gas or charcoal grills, camp stoves, or similar devices inside your home, in basements, in garages, or near windows. The fumes are deadly. Generators should be located at least 20 feet from any window, door, or vent and in a space where rain and snow will not reach them.
Do not use generators or appliances if they are wet.
Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.
Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning (CO) by installing battery-operated CO detector.
Frostbite and Hypothermia
Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers and toes.
Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin.
Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.
is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness.
Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body FIRST - chest, neck, head and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.