Winter Weather Spotlight

Winter Weather

Winter is here and with it comes the potential for extreme cold and winter storms.
Winter storms can range from light to moderate snowfall lasting only a few hours to blizzard conditions with blinding snow and high winds or freezing rain lasting up to several days. Winter storms can immobilize a region causing downed power lines, roof collapses, coastal flooding and closed highways and airports. Extreme winter weather can stop the flow of supplies and disrupt emergency and medical services.

People can become trapped at home, outside or in a car without utilities or outside assistance. Hypothermia and frostbite can lead to loss of fingers and toes, kidney damage or even death.

The time to prepare is before extreme weather occurs. Regularly listen to weather forecasts and check your emergency supplies whenever a winter storm or extreme cold is predicted.

Click here to view FAQ about Winter Weather Do you know? Do you know...

Do you know how to prepare for severe winter weather and extreme cold? Here are four tips to help you prepare.

Winter Weather: Home Safety Highlights

  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm doors and windows or covering windows with plastic.
  • Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors-the fumes are deadly
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and know how to use them
  • Have your chimney inspected each year and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have emergency supplies on hand such as an alternate fuel source for heating your home, blankets, food that needs no cooking or refrigeration, a 3 day supply of water, prescription medicines, a battery operated radio and flashlights, battery powered cell phone chargers, snow shovel etc.

Winter Weather: Outdoor Safety Highlights

  • Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens-they are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and scarf.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs in extreme cold.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of hypothermia and frostbite.

Winter Weather: Car Safety Highlights

  • Have maintenance service on your car: check antifreeze level, battery, brakes, exhaust system and fluid levels.
  • Make sure tires are appropriate for winter driving and have adequate tread.
  • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Keep a winter emergency kit in your car.
  • If stranded, tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna, run car heater 10 minutes of every hour, clear exhaust pipe of obstructions, crack one window when heater is on and leave the overhead light on at night.
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going.

Winter Weather: Hypothermia and Frostbite

  • When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced
  • Symptoms of hypothermia include: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness; infants may have bright red, cold skin and very low energy.
  • Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing; it causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas and most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes.
  • Symptoms of frostbite include: a white or grayish yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy and numbness
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  • Shovel
  • Windshield Scraper and brush
  • Snack food
  • Water
  • Can and waterproof matches (melt snow for water)
  • Blankets or sleeping bag
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Road salt and sand or kitty litter for traction
  • Booster cables
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Extra hats, socks, mittens
  • Brightly colored cloth
  • First aid kit
  • Pocket knife
  • Toilet paper
  • Emergency flares