Each year, hundreds of Americans are injured or killed by exposure to cold, vehicle accidents on wintry roads, and fires caused by the improper use of heaters. Prepare now so you can stay safe during blizzards and other winter storms!
Before A Winter Storm
- Know the terms related to winter storm and extreme cold.
- Know the names of the counties in which you live, work and travel. County names are used to identify areas at risk.
- Learn how to protect your family’s health during the winter months.
• Dress appropriately for the winter.
• Learn the physical dangers to your body.
- Gather emergency supplies for work and home.
- Create a Family Emergency Supply Kit. See box below for important items for your kit.
- Winterize your home to extend your fuel supply.
• Insulate walls and attics.
• Caulk and weatherize doors and windows.
• I nstall storm windows or cover windows with plastic.
- Take steps to prevent frozen water pipes.
•Locate and insulate the pipes most susceptible to freezing: typically those near outer walls, in crawl spaces or in attics.
• Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions.
• Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.
• Disconnect garden hoses and shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
• Make sure you know how to shut off the water, in case pipes burst.
- Prepare For Possible Isolation In Your Home For Several Days:
• Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel. After a severe winter storm, regular fuel carriers may not reach you for days.
• Have emergency heating equipment (fireplaces, wood burning stoves or space heaters) and ample fuel so you can keep at least one room of your house warm. Always ensure proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
• NEVER use an outdoor grill to heat your home or to cook food indoors.
• Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure your family knows how to use them.
- Prepare Your Vehicle For The Winter
• Winterize your vehicle or have your vehicle serviced by a reputable dealer, garage or mechanic.
• Check your wipers, tires, lights and fluid levels regularly. Make sure the brakes and transmission are working properly. Lubricate door and trunk locks to prevent them from freezing.
• Prepare a Winter Storm Survival Kit and carry it in your vehicle. A kit is important even for short trips. If you have an accident or vehicle breakdown, you may be waiting several hours for assistance to arrive. See below for “Winter Storm Survival Kit for Travelers.”
Before A Winter Storm
- Find shelter and stay dry
- Cover all exposed body parts
- If stranded or without shelter
• Prepare a lean-to, wind-break, or snow cave for protection from the wind.
• Build a fire for heat and to attract attention
• Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat
• Melt snow before eating. Ice will lower your body temperature.
At Home or in a Building:
- Stay inside.
- When using ALTERNATIVE HEAT (fireplace, space heater, etc.):
• Use fire safeguards.
• Properly ventilate.
• Use a carbon monoxide detector.
If There is No Heat:
- Close off unneeded rooms and stuff towels or rags in door cracks
- Cover windows at night.
- Eat and drink to keep warm and hydrated.
- Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, but remove to avoid overheating
If Trapped in a Car:
- Stay in the vehicle. Run the motor about ten minutes per hour for heat:
• Crack a window for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
Make yourself visible to rescuers:
- Use the dome light when running the engine at night.
- Tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna or door.
- After snow stops, raise the hood to indicate trouble. Circulate blood and keep warm by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers, and toes