Winter Storms

Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. The results from a major snow storm can range from power outages to the havoc of cars trying to maneuver on ice-covered highways and streets. You should protect yourself and your family from the hazards of winter weather.

What to Do During a Winter Storm

  • Listen to the radio or television for weather reports and emergency information.
  • Dress for the Season:
    • Wear several layers of loose-fitting, light-weight warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing.
    • Mittens are warmer than gloves.
    • Wear a hat; most body heat is lost through the top of the head.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from the cold air.
  • Be careful when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack – a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, do some stretch exercises before going out and do not overexert yourself.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite – a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingertips, toes, ear lobes, or the end of your nose. Watch for hypothermia, uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, drowsiness, or slurred speech. If these symptoms exist, seek medical help immediately.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.

Winter Driving Tips

If you must travel, consider taking public transportation. If you travel by car, travel during the day, do not travel alone, and keep others informed of your schedule. Stay on main roads and avoid back-road shortcuts. Keep your car winterized with antifreeze and have adequate snow tires or chains. Carry a winter car kit in the back or trunk of your car.

If a blizzard traps you in your vehicle:
  • Pull off of the roadway, set your hazard flashers, and hang a distress flag from your radio antenna or window.
  • Remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by you know will offer shelter.
  • Run engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Make sure the area around the exhaust pipe is clear and open a window to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Exercise frequently to maintain body heat. Insulate yourself with newspapers, seat covers, or floor mats if necessary to retain body heat.
  • If not alone, take turns sleeping. Someone should always be awake to look for rescue crews.
  • Be careful not to use up the battery, balance needs with supply.
  • At night, turn on dome light so work crews may see you.
  • If stranded in a remote area, place a large cloth over snow to attract rescue crews who may be surveying area by airplane.

Winter Car Kit

  • Bag of road salt or sand
  • Battery operated radio
  • Blanket
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency flares
  • Extra batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Fluorescent distress flag
  • Hat

  • Mittens
  • Road maps
  • Shovel
  • Snack foods
  • Tire chains
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Water
  • Windshield scraper