The American Red Cross recommends everyone prepare for winter weather with these steps:
Get a Disaster Supplies Kit For Your Home
- Three-day supply of water (1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking and hygiene);
- Three-day supply of non-perishable items and high-energy food, and a manual can opener;
- First-aid kit and essential medications;
- Battery Powered or hand-cranked radio;
- Flashlight with extra batteries;
- Extra warm clothing, including boots, mittens and hats; and
- Copies of important documents (birth certificate, title/deed to home, insurance policies, etc.) in a water-proof container.
Where can local residents find these supplies? Which store have ran out? Tell us in the comments section below this article.
Get a Disaster Supplies Kit for Your Vehicle
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher (A-B-C type)
- Compass and road maps
- Tire repair kit and pump
- Extra clothing to keep dry
- Sack of sand or cat litter (for tire traction)
- Tow rope
Make a Winter Storm Plan
- Have extra blankets on hand.
- Have additional food and water stored to last seven to 14 days.
- Ensure that every member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, a hat and water-proof boots.
- Assemble a disaster supplies kit for your home and vehicle.
- Have your vehicle winterized before weather gets severe.
- Decide how you would communicate with your family members should you be separated and unable to travel when a winter storm hits.
- Listen to local weather officials to learn how winter weather might affect your neighborhood.
- Know the difference between a winter storm WATCH (a winter storm is possible in your area) and a winter storm WARNING (a winter storm is headed to your area).
- Consider getting First Aid and CPR training in case you need to respond in an emergency.
If the Power Goes Out
- Use flashlights, not candles, for light when the power goes out.
- Use items in the refrigerator first, then freezer, then non-perishable foods.
- Use generators correctly. Never operate indoors; do not hook up a generator directly to your home’s wiring. Always read directions that come with generator before using.
Hazardous Winter Travel
The American Red Cross strongly urges everyone to monitor weather reports and follow the directions of local authorities. If travel is absolutely necessary during potentially dangerous winter weather, inform someone of your travel route, destination and expected arrival time. Store a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle and remember to keep the gas tank near full to avoid ice building up in the gas tank and fuel lines.
In Case of Snow or Black Ice
- Stay with your vehicle. Do not try to walk to safety as you will risk developing hypothermia and/or frostbite.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
- Start the vehicle and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear, so fumes won't back up in the vehicle.
- As you sit, move your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to help you stay warm.
- Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
- Leave the overhead light on inside the vehicle when the engine is running so you can be seen.
- After the snow has stopped falling, raise the hood to indicate you need help.
Snow Shoveling Safety
The Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) offers these tips for those who choose to take on the cold, sweat and tears associated with digging yourself out:
- Wear layers: SIMA says wearing layers of loose clothing allows you to peel some off as you become active and warm. They also say to avoid wearing heavy wools, manmade materials or other materials that don’t allow perspiration to evaporate.
- Wear winter footwear: Wearing quality waterproof boots with good traction is very important. "Good traction is critical to ensuring that you don't slip and fall," SIMA says.
- Loosen up: Take time to stretch and get limber before you start. "Shoveling snow is a workout so you need to stretch to warm up your muscles, particularly because you are shoveling snow in the cold weather. Stretching before you start shoveling will help prevent injury and fatigue," explains SIMA.
- Push, don't lift: SIMA says pushing the snow to the side instead of trying to lift the snow to remove it helps you exert less energy. Pushing also places less stress on your body. "If deeper snow is in need of removal, take it in layers," suggests SIMA.
- Stay hydrated: SIMA recommends taking frequent breaks and drinking lots of fluids. "You should drink water as if you were enduring a tough workout at the gym or jogging."
- Utilize equipment: If possible, use equipment that can remove more snow with less time/effort, to increase your efficiency and reduce the amount of labor needed.
Tell Us: Are you prepared? Which stores have the best supplies available?