Winter Storm Safety: Be Prepared!
Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio and your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.
When a Winter Storm WARNING is issued...
- Stay indoors during the storm.
- If you must go outside, several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
- Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin.
- As the wind increases, heat is carried away from a person's body at an accelerated rated, driving down the body temperature.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, sidewalks.
- After the storm, if you shovel snow, be extremely careful. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks. Avoid overexertion.
- Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must...
- Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk (see end of release).
- Keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
If You Do Get Stuck
- Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
- Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
- As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
- Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
What to Do After a Winter Storm
- Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community, or roads may be blocked.
- Help a neighbor who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
- Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved. Roads may be blocked by snow or emergency vehicles.
- Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of deaths during winter.
- Follow forecasts and be prepared when venturing outside. Major winter storms are often followed by even colder conditions.
If you haven't already done so, think about preparing for next time.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing --
- First aid kit and essential medications.
- Battery-powered NOAA Weather radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Canned food and can opener.
- Bottled water (at least one gallon of water per person per day to last at least 3 days).
- Extra warm clothing, including boots, mittens, and a hat.
- Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit for your car, too.
For More Information
If you would like more information, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross at 225-6697 or 1-800-464-6692.
The American Red Cross is where people mobilize to help their neighbors - across the street, across the country and across the world - in emergencies. Each year, in communities large and small, victims of some 70,000 disasters turn to neighbors familiar and new - the nearly 1 million volunteers and 35,000 employees of the Red Cross. Through almost 815 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. Some 4 million people give blood - the gift of life - through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The Red Cross helps thousands of U.S. service members separated from their families by military duty stay connected. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of 181 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world's most vulnerable people. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.