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Preparing For A Winter Storm
Terms:Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground. It leaves ice on the roadways.
Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before it hits the ground.
Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm is possible in your area.
Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
Blizzard Warning: Considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow, with winds up to 35 miles per hour cause low visibility.
Preparing your home:
- Create an emergency winter preparedness kit for you home that includes the following items:
- Water, at least three gallons of water per person
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person
- Prescribed medications
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Pet supplies
- A complete change of clothing and footwear for each person
- Important family documents
- Extra clothes and blankets
- Keep on hand items for your pets. Animals feel the effects of wind chill. Be sure to have suitable shelter with food and water.
- Winterize your home by weather-stripping and insulating walls, attics and basements. It will not only allow your house to maintain heat, but extends the life of your fuel supply, which can save money on heating costs.
- Insulating pipes that run through you walls and attic can help prevent them from bursting during the winter season.
- Know where the water valves are located in your home in case you have to shut them off to prevent pipes from bursting.
- Clean gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Roof ice dams can cause water build-up leading to interior damage.
- Clear storm drains along the curb to enable water to drain. If plugged, water has the potential to go into low-lying areas and flood basements.
- Have a backup heating source. A backup heating source will prevent pipes from freezing and keep your home warm in the event of an outage. Make sure that gas generators or fuel-based heating systems are vented outside to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
- Install battery-operated CO detectors near every sleeping area. CO poisoning is most prevalent when furnaces are turned on to fight cold winter temperatures or when people rely on portable generators for electricity during outages.
Preparing your vehicle:
- Winterize your vehicle by late fall. This includes having the proper mix of antifreeze and water in the cooling system, topping off windshield washing solution and replacing worn windshield wipers.
- Check your tires to make sure you have an adequate amount of tread for the winter. Adequate tire tread will improve the safety of your vehicle on the road. Make sure to check tire pressure regularly throughout the winter season.
- It’s good practice to have your radiator system, engine and heating system checked every fall before winter comes. Also check brakes, brake fluid, oil and car battery as well.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times during the winter to avoid fuel lines freezing up and getting ice buildup in your tank.
- Keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle stocked in the event you get stranded or stuck. Your car should always be equipped with a container of emergency supplies. Keep the following items in your kit:
- Small battery powered or hand-crank radio
- Extra batteries
- Cellular phone and charger
- Windshield scraper
- Jumper cables
- Extra blankets and clothes
- Non-perishable food and bottled waterFirst aid kit
- Tire repair kit and pump
- “Call Police” or other “Help” sign
- Severe winter storms are usually preceded by strong winds and snow.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow; this could cause heart attack or other health complications.
- Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. See Extreme Cold
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid toxic fumes. Keep away from flammable objects.
- Drive only if it is necessary:
- Travel during the day.
- Update a family member or friend of destination and travel timeframe.
- Stay on main roads.
- Remember to take it slow on ice and snow.
- Avoid walking under heavily iced tree branches or buildings.
- Check and restock emergency supply kit.
Auto Emergency Checklist (PDF)
Emergency Preparedness Checklist (PDF)
Pet Emergency Preparedness Checklist (PDF)
FEMA Winter Weather: http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather
FEMA Accessible: Lifesaving Safety Tips PSA (ASL Video)