Winter Weather Preparedness & Safety from the Red Cross
For the Antigo Times
What should I do to prepare ahead of time?
- Build an emergency kit well in advance: Don’t forget to include critical documents, medications, food, water, blankets and warm clothing for your entire family. Detailed list see Winter Weather Preparedness & Safety.
- Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
- If you or a member of your household is an individual with access or functional needs, including a disability, consider developing a comprehensive evacuation plan in advance with family, care providers and care attendants, as appropriate. Complete a personal assessment of functional abilities and possible needs during and after an emergency or disaster situation, and create a personal support network to assist. For detailed guidance, see FEMA’s Emergency Planning for Individuals with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs
Respond During – Remaining Safe During a Winter Storm
- Stay informed. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information on snow storms and blizzards from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Winter Storm Outlook – Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.
- Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
- Winter Storm Watch – Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
- Winter Storm Warning – Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
- Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.
- Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
- Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.
- Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
- Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities, access or functional needs and children.
Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills!
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
- If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
- Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.
- Frostbite and hypothermia are two dangerous and potentially life-threatening emergencies. Learn how to care for these emergencies by taking a first aid class.
- Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be informed. Be Red Cross Ready Checklist (1 page) (English)
- Winter Storm Safety Checklist (1 page) (English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese)
- Short Winter Storm Safety Checklist (I page) (English & Spanish)
- Power Outage Checklist (1 page each) (English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese)
- Winter Weather Preparedness and Safety – Red Cross Landing Page (English, Spanish)
- Emergency Planning for People with Disabilities, Access and Functional Needs – FEMA – Landing Page (English) FEMA Checklist(English , Spanish , English – Large Print), Video (English language with American Sign Language)
- FEMA – Fire Is Everyone’s Fight – Portable Heater Safety (English Video)
- FEMA Fire Is Everyone’s Fight – Winter Fire Safety (English Video)
- Free bilingual Emergency App (English , Spanish) expert advice on how to prepare & respond to winter weather and other disasters and features real-time local alerts for severe weather and hazards and includes a map with local Red Cross shelters