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Tips on Preparing for Hazardous Winter Weather

1. Don't wait for a particular storm to prepare.
Begin your preparations early in the season so that you're ready to react quickly when a winter storm is forecast and be ready to cancel or reschedule plans.
2. Listen for weather forecasts and warnings and pay close attention to changing weather conditions.
3. Travel safely. Give your car a winter tune-up in mid autumn and have your snow tires installed early to avoid being caught off guard. Assemble a car emergency kit including basic items like high-energy snacks, a flashlight or road hazard light, new batteries and a blanket.
4. Assemble a home emergency kit.
Have a dedicated supply of bottled water and non-perishable or canned foods on hand in case you are unable to get to a store for a few days. Ensure you have a battery or crank-powered radio, flashlights and new batteries. Do not use propane stoves and barbecues indoors and avoid using candles if at all possible as they can be extremely dangerous, particularly if you have children or pets.
5. Outside hazards. Winter storms and severe conditions like high wind chill values can be hazardous. If conditions worsen get indoors as soon as possible. If you must be outside, dress to suit the weather. Watch carefully for symptoms of hypothermia: shivering, confusion and loss of muscular control. Frostbite can occur in minutes. Watch for numbness or whiteness in ears, nose, fingers, and toes.
6. Remember that after-storm conditions can pose hazards too. Road conditions can remain hazardous even after the storm has subsided. Take care as you resume driving and normal life after a storm has stopped.
Be Prepared for Power Outages

During the fall and winter, bad weather can cause power outages in your home. Making sure you are prepared will keep you and your family safe.

  • Use battery operated lights or flashlights as an alternative light source.
  • If you must use candles, be careful and never leave them unattended.
  • If you use a gas lamp, make sure it is working properly, and only use it in a well ventilated area.
  • Keep lights and candles away from curtains and other fabrics.
  • Sometimes, telephones are affected by power outages (especially if you are using an Internet phone service such as Vonage). If you have a cell phone, make sure you have access to it in case of an emergency.
  • Never use matches or lighters as an alternative light or heat source in the event of an outage.
  • Never use a gas stove to heat your home.

If Stranded While Driving:

  • Don't panic.
  • Stay with your car. You'll be sheltered and easier to find. Move your car off the roadway to avoid collisions with other vehicles. Do not attempt to walk for help. Many travelers have suffered hypothermia or frostbite or even death.
  • Avoid over-exertion or exposure.
  • Set out warning flares or other markers such as a bright cloth hung from the car window or aerial. Car engines should be run for ten minutes each hour.
  • Check exhaust pipe frequently to ensure it's not becoming blocked with snow.
  • Keep fresh air inside the car by slightly opening a window and running the motor sparingly.
  • Use the dome light instead of headlights. Using headlights will run the battery down too quickly.
  • Keep moving. Exercise hands, arms and legs to prevent frostbite.
  • Watch for traffic or search parties. Don't fall asleep.


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