Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.
Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.
Take These Steps for Your Home
Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.
Don't Forget to Prepare Your Car
Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.
Equip in Advance for Emergencies
Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.
Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;
first-aid kit and extra medicine;
baby items; and
cat litter or sand for icy walkways.
Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.
Take These Precautions Outdoors
Many people spend time outdoors in the winter working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. Outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare for them:
Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
Be aware of the wind chill factor.
Work slowly when doing outside chores.
Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
Carry a cell phone.
Do This When You Plan to Travel
When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
Follow these safety rules if you become 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.
Above all, be ready to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.
No one can stop the onset of winter. However, if you follow these suggestions, you will be ready for it when it comes.