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!

Home

  • 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.

Heating

  • 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.

Car

  • 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.

Travel

  • 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.

Outdoor Safety

  • 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.

Pet Safety

  • 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

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