Winter Weather Checklists – How to be Prepared During Winter Storm Season
When the cold weather is upon us and experts are predicting another rough winter ahead, our minds turn to preparedness. What do you need to worry about during the winter storm season? Well, accidents do occur, for example, what if you’re stuck in your vehicle during a storm? Consider this checklist:
- Have an emergency kit. Keep these essentials in your car throughout the winter season: Blankets, pillows, extra warm clothing, non-perishable food and snacks, water, flashlight with spare batteries, a few doses of any essential prescription medications, a first aid kit, hand-warmers, whistle, snow shovel, ice scraper and jumper cables. (Yes, this list may be long but if you find yourself in the lurch you’ll be glad you went to the trouble.)
- Charge your phone. Keep your cellphone charged in case you need it to call for help. Keep phone use to a minimum to conserve batteries.
- Be visible. If you’re stuck in the snow, tie something brightly colored onto your antenna. Leave the dome light on. This is a common way to signal that you need help. You can also blow that whistle from your emergency kit.
- Stay in the car. It may be cold and claustrophobic, but ultimately it’s safer than being outside exposed to the elements in a winter storm.
- Check the tailpipe. Make sure no snow is blocking the exhaust. This is a simple way to avoid a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide in the car if you’re sitting with the engine running. You should also crack open the back window slightly, which will keep fresh air circulating and prevent poisoning.
- Run the engine intermittently. Run your engine for 10 to 15 minutes every hour to keep the car sufficiently warm and also melt some of the ice and snow.
- Keep moving. It’s important to avoid frostbite so try to keep up your circulation by moving your fingers and toes and changing your seated position frequently.
- Share body heat. If you’re in the car with other passengers, huddle together to keep warm.
Stay in your car until the snow stops and weather conditions improve. It may feel like an eternity, but if you plan ahead with emergency supplies and prepare for the worst, you’ll have the best chance of getting through it.
For your Home or Business:
- Make sure your home and business is fully stocked with flashlights, water, extra batteries and a portable battery powered radio so you can listen for local emergency instructions.
- Turning on the oven is not safe if your heat goes out.
- Have extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm coats on hand.
- Make sure you keep wood stocked if you have a fireplace or wood burning stove.
- Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet.
- Be careful not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.
- Use individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords to plug in other appliances.
- Food and Safety Checklist:
Have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies. If you live far from other people, have more supplies on hand. Make sure you have the following supplies:
- Drinking water
- Canned/no-cook food (bread, crackers, dried fruits)
- Non-electric can opener
- Baby food and formula (if baby in the household)
- Prescription drugs and other medicine
- First-aid kit
- Rock-salt to melt ice on walkways
- Supply of cat litter or bag of sand to add traction on walkway
- Battery-powered lamps or lanterns
(To prevent the risk of fire, avoid using candles.)
- Have plenty of fresh water on hand
- Fill tub with water
- Leave taps open slightly with a small of amount of water dripping out to prevent pipes from bursting
- Remember you can melt snow for water if you run out. Boil for at least one minute to get rid of bacteria.
Please remember to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or ones with children. Have a safe winter and stay warm!