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Domestic Preparedness
Winter Storms Preparation


How to prepare for Winter Storms     During a Winter Storm  
Winter Storms Frequently Asked Questions

  How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

  At home:

  • Keep handy a battery-powered flashlight, NOAA weather radio and portable radio, extra food (canned or dried food is best), can opener, and bottled water (at least 3 gallons per person).

  • Make sure each member of household has a warm coat, gloves, hat and water-resistant boots.

  • Ensure that extra blankets and heavy clothes are available.

  • Keep on hand items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.

  • Be aware of potential fire and carbon monoxide hazards if you plan to use an emergency heating source such as a fireplace, wood stove or space heater.

  In a vehicle:

  • Ensure the vehicle is winterized by late fall. Keep the gas tank close to full.

  • Have the following emergency supplies in your auto: shovel, blankets, windshield scraper, container of sand, battery booster cables, tow chain or rope, flashlight, battery-operated radio, first-aid kit and high energy snacks (e.g. nuts, raisins).

  • If travel is necessary, let someone know your destination and arrival time. Take along a cell-phone in case you must call for help.


  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. Sweating could lead to chill and hypothermia.

  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks.

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing in layers. Wear wool hat and mittens.

  • Keep your clothes dry. Change wet socks and clothing quickly to prevent loss of body heat.

  • Understand the hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away from a personís body more rapidly.

  During a Winter Storm

  At home:

  • To save heat, close off unneeded rooms, cover windows at night and stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
  • Maintain adequate food and water intake. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.

  If stranded in a vehicle:

  • Attach a bright cloth to your antenna to attract attention and then remain in the vehicle.

  • Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat. However, open the window slightly for fresh air and make sure that the e exhaust pipe isn't blocked.

  • Get attention by turning on the dome light and emergency flashers when running the engine.

  • Exercise by moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

  If stranded outside:

  • Try to stay dry and cover all exposed parts of the body.

  • Prepare a windbreak or snow cave for protection from the wind. Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.

  • Do not eat snow. It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.


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