Winter Storms

Be prepared and stay safe

Frozen rain, sleet, snow and wind can cause power outages, shut down public services and make traveling especially hazardous. Don’t let winter’s worst catch you off guard.

Preparation

Stay informed. Sign up for local weather alerts and warnings. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. Consider purchasing a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio.

Stock emergency supplies. Have at least three days’ supply of non-perishable food and water on hand. Don’t forget about pets and medications. Restock your first-aid kit and flashlight batteries. Prep outdoor generators and battery backups. Gather plenty of blankets and warm clothing. Get battery backup power for any power-dependent medical devices.

Winterize your home. Stay warm indoors, and take steps to save energy. Make sure your furnace has been checked by a professional. Repair leaks in caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows. Cover drafty windows with drapes, insulating shades or even plastic. If you have a chimney, keep the damper closed when not in use.

Prioritize safety. Install new batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and test them. Make sure you have working fire extinguishers on hand.

Make a communications plan. Charge phones, laptops and tablets. Make sure you have the most recent family-contact information. Test your devices, contact phone numbers and email addresses.

Secure important documents. Review your property insurance, and safeguard critical documents in a sealed waterproof container or strongbox.

Prepare your vehicle. Only drive during a storm event if absolutely necessary, but make sure your vehicle is winterized, fill your gas tank and prepare an emergency kit.

During the storm

Stay indoors and off the roads. If you must drive, take along an emergency supply kit including jumper cables, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water and non-perishable snacks. In the event of a breakdown, stay inside your vehicle.

Avoid carbon monoxide risk. Never use a gas-powered generator, portable stove, charcoal grill, or gasoline or propane heater indoors. They can lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, accidental fires and electric shock. Don’t heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.

Use your furnace efficiently. Close off rooms you’re not using. Dress in layers and use blankets for extra warmth.

Limit time outdoors. Stay dry. Bring pets indoors. Keep walkways safe with deicing salt.

Recovery

Only drive if necessary. Remove snow and ice from your tailpipe before starting your car, and check regularly if idling. Clean all snow and ice from your car before driving.

Keep warm and dry. Use waterproof boots and gloves. Dress in layers. Prevent prolonged exposure to cold and wind.

Avoid overexertion. Know the signs and basic treatments for hypothermia and frostbite. If clearing and shoveling snow, be aware of overexertion, which can lead to a medical emergency.

Check in with friends, family and neighbors. Stay connected and make sure to check on the elderly or those who are vulnerable to weather events during and after the storm.

Helpful links

Ready.gov
Find more quick tips on winter storm preparation, download checklists, and find more helpful links.

FEMA.gov
Download an extensive, user-friendly guide to winter-storm preparedness, a checklist and additional resources.

Winter driving
Learn how to winterize your vehicle and how to handle road conditions and emergencies.

CDC.gov
Learn symptoms and basic treatments for hypothermia and frostbite.

Winterizing your home
Get more tips on staying warm and energy-efficient

National Weather Service

FEMA Mobile App

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