Terms to Know
- Winter Storm Watch: Indicates severe winter weather may affect your area.
- Winter Storm Warning: Severe winter weather conditions will affect your area.
- Blizzard Warning: Large amount of falling snow or blowing snow with winds of at least 35 miles per hour expected to last for several hours.
- Wind Chill: The effect of wind in combination with the actual temperature, which increases the rate of heat loss to the human body.
- Frostbite: Severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims. Symptoms include a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, ears, and nose.
- Hypothermia: Occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below normal. Symptoms include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, and drowsiness. If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, slowly warm the victim and seek immediate medical assistance.
- Overexertion: Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Shoveling snow or pushing a car may cause a heart attack. Stay warm, dress warm, and slow down when working outdoors.
- Service snow removal equipment. Use rock salt to melt ice on walkways, and sand to generate traction.
- Winterize your home and have heating sources inspected annually.
- If you use heating oil, maintain an adequate supply.
- Have safe, emergency heating equipment available and use according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Install and check smoke alarms.
- Protect water pipes from freezing.
- Have adequate winter supplies on hand.
Winter Travel Supplies
- Several blankets and sleeping bags
- Matches and candles
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Extra set of mittens, socks, and wool caps
- First Aid kit with pocket knife
- Small sack of sand to generate traction
- Small shovel, pliers, wrench, and screwdriver
- Windshield scraper and a small broom
- Booster cables and distress flares
- Set of tire chains or snow tires
- Brightly colored cloth (to use as a flag)
Winter Driving Tips
- Keep vehicles clear of ice and snow—good vision is key to good driving.
- Slow down, remember to match your speed to account for road and weather conditions.
- Keep your gas tank above half-full if possible.
- Check tires for proper inflation and sufficient tread.
- Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars.
- Remember that snowdrifts and snow banks can hide small children.
- Don't crowd the plow.
If Stranded in a Vehicle
- Stay in the vehicle. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless assistance is visible within 100 feet.
- Display a trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna, raise the hood, and turn on hazard lights. At night, use the dome light.
- Occasionally run the engine to keep warm. Run the heater sparingly. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear and open the downwind windows.
- Do minor exercises to keep up circulation. Clap hands and move arms and legs. Try not to stay in one position for too long.
- If there is more than one person in the car, take turns sleeping. Huddle together for warmth.