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Preparing for Winter Storms

Winter storms can be a serious threat to the safety and health of a community. Storms can last for several days and be accompanied by high winds, freezing rain or sleet, heavy snowfall, and cold temperatures. In a winter storm, it is common for power outages to last for days. Critical community services including health care, child care and public transportation can be impacted. Roads and walkways can become extremely dangerous and injuries and deaths may occur from accidents, exposure and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Fortunately, there are many ways to prepare for winter storms that will help keep you and your family safe. If a storm is on the horizon:

  • Have a 3-day supply of water and food for each person in the household as well as enough food and water for all pets.
  • Make sure all prescriptions are filled and your Emergency Supply Kit has all the necessary items.
  • Have flashlights for every family member, along with plenty of extra batteries.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home, preferably near every bedroom. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases during winter storms as people turn to alternate heat sources.
  • Make sure you have fire extinguishers in your home and that everyone knows how to use them. House fires are much more common during winter storms as people turn to alternate heat sources.
  • Be prepared to evacuate if you lose power or heat and know your routes and destinations; have a list of local emergency shelters.

Additional Resources

The Winter Weather Toolkit and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more information on preparing for and being safe during a winter storm event. 

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