While winter can be a beautiful time of year, storms and cold temperatures can be dangerous. Prepare and plan for how you and your family will stay safe with this checklist!
- Repair roof leaks and remove tree branches that could weigh down with ice or snowfall.
- To prevent freezing, insulate pipes (insulation, plastic, and even newspapers help) and turn on faucets slightly (just at a drip).
- Check the battery in carbon monoxide detector.
- Make sure to turn off outside faucets.
- Clothes dryer vents should be checked for a buildup of lint. If drying times are getting longer, it means the vent may be getting restricted and not allowing the proper airflow through the appliance.
- Report outages to your power company.
- Use the low or warm settings on your water heater, never turning it above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Never use your oven or range top to heat your home.
- Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Inspect and clean wood-burning fireplace chimney.
- Ensure your home has a sufficient supply of whatever you use as “fuel” to heat your home.
- Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. (Cell phone accessories, blankets, food and water, flashlight, shovel/scrapper, etc.)
- If needed, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
- Top off antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, gas oil, and other fluids.
- Make sure you have jumper cables in your trunk.
- Be sure your brakes are working properly.
- Check your tire pressure before any big trip.
- Switch to a winter-grade oil at your next oil change.
- Check weather and road conditions before you leave.
- Slow down: Driving too fast on wintery roads is the leading cause of crashes.
- Travel at a safe distance of at least 3 car lengths, leaving plenty of room to stop.
- Turn on headlights to increase your visibility to other vehicles.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the break.
- Clear all snow and ice from the vehicle prior to travel.
- Be aware of black ice on the pavement.
- If you become stuck in deep snow, do not let your engine idle if your exhaust pipe is buried. Idling with a buried exhaust pipe could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Have a contact list in case of emergency.
- Wear appropriate outdoor clothing (winter coat, hat, gloves, boots, scarf, etc.).
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
- Learn proper ways to shovel.
- Wear dry clothing outside to avoid getting sick.
- Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance. Get medical help immediately.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and exhaustion.
- Use proper equipment for outdoor sports.
- Know the limit of your pet; each one is different.
- Some animals aren’t susceptible to winter weather.
- Check their paws for cold-weather injury or damage.
- Buy a short coat or winter booties to protect paws from the snow and salt.
- Clean any spills that could be deadly to your pets.
- Be cautious of frozen ponds, lakes and water.
- Provide inside shelter for your animals that sleep outside.
- Be prepared with extra food and water.
General Preparedness for Emergencies
- Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
- Ensure that all electronics are fully charged.
- Up-to-date emergency kit (flashlight, extra batteries, medicine, etc.).
- Keep all generators outside- 20 ft. from house.
- Call 911 in case of emergency.
More resources on Winter Safety
- Winter Safety: Are you Doing These 5 Things?
- Winter Sports Safety: 6 Ways to Stay Safe and Prevent Injury This Winter
- Winter Sports: Staying Safe During the Coldest Months
- Winter Driving: Use Headlights to Stay Safe on Dark, Wintry Roads
- Beat the Chill and Lower Your Bills: Three Steps to Save Energy this Winter
- Winter Coats and Car Seats: How to Avoid Danger