Winter Weather Safety Tips

Fred Wilborn is covered in snow as he walks on the south side of Chicago. (AP Photo)

January 3, 2014 9:26:34 AM PST
If a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for your area, that means that hazardous winter weather conditions (such as snow greater than 6 inches in 24 hours, winds gusting over 35 mph, or visibilities less than 1/4 mile) are expected in the next 12 to 36 hours. You should prepare for the worst now:

At Home or Work

Make Sure You Have:

  • a working flashlight
  • battery powered NOAA weather radio, radio, or TV
  • extra food, water, medicine, and baby items
  • first aid supplies
  • heating fuel (propane, kerosene, fuel oil, etc ...)
  • emergency heating source
  • fire extinguisher and smoke detector
  • In Cars and Trucks:

  • fully check and winterize your vehicle
  • keep your gas tank near full
  • try not to travel alone
  • let a friend or relative know your timetable for travel
  • carry a Winter Storm Survival Kit which contain:
  • blankets/sleeping bags
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • knife
  • high calorie, non-perishable food
  • a smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water
  • sand or cat litter
  • shovel
  • windshield scraper
  • tool kit
  • tow rope
  • jumper cables
  • water container
  • compass
  • road maps
  • On the Farm:

  • Move animals to sheltered areas
  • Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas
  • Have a water supply available (most animal deaths in winter storms are from dehydration)
  • If a Winter Storm Warning has been issued for your area, that means that hazardous winter weather condition (such as snow greater than 6 inches in 24 hours, winds gusting over 35 mph, or visibilities less 1/4 mile) are expected within the next 12 hours or are already occurring.
  • If Caught Outside:

  • Find a dry shelter. Cover all exposed parts of the body
  • If shelter is not available:
  • Prepare a lean-to, wind break, or snow-cave for protection from the wind
  • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention. Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • Do not eat snow. It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.
  • If Stranded in a Car or Truck:

  • Stay in your car or truck!
  • Run the motor about ten minutes each hour.
  • Open the windows a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide
  • poisoning. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
  • Make yourself visible to rescuers:
  • Turn on the dome lights at night when running the engine
  • Tie a colored cloth to your antenna or door
  • Raise the hood after the snow stops falling
  • Exercise to keep blood circulating and to keep warm
  • At Home or in a Building:

  • Stay inside!
  • If there is no heat: Close off unneeded rooms
  • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors
  • Cover windows at night
  • Eat and drink. Food provides the body with energy and heat. Fluids prevent dehydration
  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing
  • (Copyright 2000 by AccuWeather, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


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