Sunday, April 14

Tips For Preparing For Winter Weather

Removing snow from the sidewalk after snowstorm.
agneskantaruk / Adobe Stock

Prepare Your Home

Prepare your home to keep the cold weather outside by using insulation, caulking and weather stripping to seal up any leaks around windows, doors, and vents. Know how to keep pipes from freezing. Gather supplies you’ll need in case you get stuck at home for several days without power, including food and safe drinking water. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights and be sure to charge your phone and other important electronics ahead of the storm. When stocking up keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication (if possible, if you are within one week of running out of any medication get a refill early). Remember the needs of your pets.If you are putting down salt or snow melting chemicals and have pets it’s important to remember to wipe off their paws when they come back inside as these chemicals can make them sick.

Importantly remember to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by only using generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.

Stay Off Roads

Stay off roads if at all possible.

Video courtesy Ready.Gov (Youtube)

If you do have to travel during a winter weather event, experts recommend keeping an Emergency Winter Kit in your car. While there are kits you can buy, most people can make their own with jumper cables, a flashlight, a phone charger, sand, non-perishable food or snacks, gloves, an ice scraper and/or small shovel, and a warm blanket and hat. If you do have to travel take it slow, let friends or family know where you are going and when you expect to get there. Remember that bridges ice before roadways. If you get trapped in your car., stay in your car, which will make it easier for emergency crews to locate you.

Going Out In The Cold

Courtesy Ready.Gov

If you are going out in the cold for work or play remember to bundle up. Wear loose-fitting lightweight, warm layers rather than just one heavy layer of clothing, Cover your hands and head. On sunny days when there is snow on the ground beware of sunburn on your face as reflected sunlight off of snow and ice can lead to sun burns even when its below freezing. Also protect your eyes.

Stay aware of not only the current temperature but also any wind chill values.

If you are working out in the snow be sure to take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Working in the snow requires extra effort and overexertion can bring on a heart attack.

Learn About Frostbite & Hypothermia

Frostbite 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.

Frostbite prevention tips. (Veronika / Adobe Stock)

Hypothermia 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.

Other Tips

  • Stock up only what you need and maybe just a little extra. Do not horde supplies, save some for your neighbors.
  • Be careful when sledding or walking on icy roads, if its slick for you cars traveling on the road could lose control.
  • Write down important phone numbers like friends and family as well as the phone numbers for your insurance and power companies, the internet may not be up when you need these numbers the most.
  • Take car of outdoor pets. Provide them with a covered and warm place to escape the wind and cold.

Download FEMA’s Guide To Be Prepared For A Winter Storm (PDF)