Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. When temperatures drop significantly below normal, staying warm and safe can be a challenge. Serious health problems can result from prolonged exposure to the cold, such as hypothermia and frostbite.
Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.
- Winterize your home. Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows. Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
- Check your heating systems. Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside. Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
- Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
- Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
- Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies. Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
- Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
- Prepare your car. Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires. Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
- Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. The kit should include: cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries; blankets; food and water; booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction); compass and maps; flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries; first-aid kit; and plastic bags (for sanitation).