Make sure that you protect your family and home during any major winter storms with these important safety tips through every stage of the storm:

When a winter storm is forecasted:

Listen to the weather forecast often

  • A winter weather “watch” is issued when severe wind chill, a blizzard or storm is forecasted within 24 to 72 hours.* If you live in the watch area, prepare for whatever is forecasted and stay on top of any weather developments
  • A winter weather “warning” means hazardous weather is forecast within 24 hours* that may threaten people and property. During a warning, stay home if possible, and if you must leave, exercise extreme caution

Prepare your home for the coming storm

  • Use storm windows to protect and insulate your home
  • Clear gutters of leaves and debris to prevent flooding or ice dams
  • Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working
  • Check heating fuel levels
  • Make sure heating equipment and chimneys have had their annual inspection

Get any vehicles ready

  • Make sure gas tanks are full
  • Check antifreeze levels
  • Move your vehicle
  • Make sure you have a car emergency kit, including flashlight, water, snacks, extra hat, socks, gloves, first aid kit, rock salt, flares, shovel and tire chains

Stock up on required supplies

  • Several day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Non-perishable food
  • Any medications
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • NOAA weather radio
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Rock salt
  • Snow shovel or snow removal equipment

During the winter storm

Do not leave your house

  • Watch or listen for any important weather changes
  • Travel only if absolutely necessary

Help prevent plumbing issues

  • Prevent pipes from freezing by leaving faucets slightly open and keep sink doors open to circulate warm air
  • If pipes burst, know where the water shut-off valve is and how to turn it off

Be prepared for any power outages

  • Have a backup generator? NEVER use it inside your home, garage, basement, crawl spaces or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even if ventilated
  • Never leave lit candles unattended
    Mind your pets
  • Bring your pets indoors or to a warm sheltered area
  • Make sure they have easy access to food and water

Winter storm aftermath

Be extremely careful

  • Icy surfaces outdoors can be a problem whether walking or driving
  • If shoveling snow or ice, warm up first, take breaks and don’t overexert or push yourself beyond what you can handle
  • Stop physical activity immediately if you experience dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating or shortness of breath
  • Protect yourself from hypothermia and frost bite by dressing in warm layers and keeping exposed skin areas covered

*Source: National Weather Service