To prepare for a winter storm you should do the following:
Before winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
- Sand to improve traction.
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
- Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle. If you must travel be sure to take a cell phone and advise someone of your destination and route of travel.
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
- Stay indoors during the storm.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
Signs of Frostbite: Occurs when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face, and the tip of the nose.
What to Do: Cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area in an attempt to warm it up. Seek medical help immediately.
Signs of Hypothermia: Dangerously low body temperature. Uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
What to Do: If symptoms of hypothermia are detected take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, seek medical attention immediately. Get the victim to a warm location. Remove wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing. Give warm, non- alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Seek medical help immediately.
If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55oF.
After the storm, remove snow and ice from sidewalks to keep others safe and to allow emergency responders to access your property in the event there is an emergency.
Do not shovel snow into the street as it may hinder travel or melt and refreeze causing a dangerous icy condition.
Become a hydrant hero and assist the fire department in clearing the areas around fire hydrants to make them visible and accessible in an emergency.
If a snow emergency is declared, follow all parking regulations and travel advisories so as not to impede snow removal efforts in your neighborhood.