Winter Safety Tips
To protect yourself and your family this winter weather learn important winter terms, practice car and home safety tips, and learn what to do during and after a winter storm.
Winter Weather Terms
Some of the most commonly used National Weather Service (NWS) winter weather terms are:
Outlook is used to indicate a hazardous weather event may develop within the next 3-5 days.
Watch means hazardous winter weather risks can happen within the next 12-48 hours.
Warning is issued when hazardous winter weather is imminent, a high probability or is occurring and can cause death, injury or significant property damage.
Car Safety Tips
Winterizing a car includes checking: the ignition, cooling, fuel and exhaust systems, battery, lights, tires, heater, brakes, wipers, defroster and oil. Before a winter storm hits your area, fill up your carís gas tank.
A car survival kit consists of: flashlight, windshield scraper, paper towels, extra clothes, blankets, matches and candles, booster cables, a compass, maps, sand, chains and high calorie non-perishable food.
Defensive Driving and Travel smart! Pump your breaks to stop on ice or snow. Plan your trip and let someone know your travel plans, route and estimated arrival time.
Do NOT leave your car unless you see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Once a storm is over, you may need to leave the car to get help. Follow the road if possible. If you need to walk across open country, orient your route toward distant landmarks to maintain your sense of direction.
Home Safety Tips
Winterize your home in the fall by installing storm shutters, doors and windows, cleaning rain gutters and repairing leaky roofs. Keep plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber and even sandbags and hand tools on hand and accessible for emergency repairs.
Buy extra water and food that requires no cooking in case of a power failure, as well as batteries for radios.
Secure an adequate fuel supply before a storm hits your area. Keep blankets, clothing, curtains, furniture, and anything that might catch fire away from portable heaters. Unplug electric heaters when not in use. Never use charcoal to heat your house because it gives off deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.
During a Storm and After a Storm
Monitor the radio or television for current weather or emergency information and instructions.
Report downed power lines and broken gas lines immediately.
Dress appropriately by wearing several layers of light-weight warm clothing.
Look for physical damages to your home. Make sure the water is running. If there are no physical
problems, wait for streets and roads to be opened before attempting to drive.
Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly, disabled or anyone who might need help.
Donít become exhausted while shoveling snow or disposing of tree limbs. Extreme cold can cause a heart attack. The natural tendency is to do too much.
Frostbite occurs when the skin becomes cold enough to freeze. Warning signs are loss of feeling, a white or pale appearance in the fingers, toes, ear lobes or nose.
Hypothermia is low body temperature during long periods of cold exposure. Warning signs are disorientation, confusion, uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. In severe cases, death is possible.