From 1988 to 1991, 161 people died and 101 were injured due to cold weather exposure in the United States.
Know winter weather warnings and how to access emergency information on your portable radio:
- Traveler's Advisory is issued when ice and snow are expected to hinder travel.
- Winter storm watch means that severe winter weather conditions may affect the area. This could mean freezing rain, sleet or heavy snow. If a winter storm watch is issued, avoid unnecessary travel before or during the storm.
- Winter storm warning means that severe weather (freezing rain, sleet or heavy snow) is about to occur. If a winter storm warning is issued for the area, stay indoors during the storm and avoid travel.
Prepare for winter weather by November 1st:
- Verify that your home emergency supplies and your car kit(s) include everything you will need in severe weather.
- Review your family’s back-up plan for cooking, heating and lighting. Choose safe alternate sources. Knocked over candles, inappropriate use of flammable liquids and lack of ventilation may cause fires and/or deaths. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cooking and heating equipment.
- If you have a fireplace or wood stove; stock up on seasoned wood and have your chimney or stove pipe cleaned each fall to guard against chimney fires.
- Protect your water pipes with insulating material (such as fiberglass or foam pipe insulation), or use heating tape which is available from a hardware store.
- Winterize your car(s). Check antifreeze level before November 1st.
- Decide how you will keep warm if you lose power. Will you heat and use only one room, hang blankets over windows, wear layers of clothing that can be adjusted as needed?
This serious medical emergency results from prolonged exposure to severe cold. Symptoms may include: slow, slurred speech, clumsiness, confusion and/or persistent shivering. If you suspect hypothermia, call 9-1-1. Remember to check on isolated friends and neighbors. Refer to your Red Cross first aid reference guide for additional information.
Report Power Outages to Your Electric Company
After reporting your outage, leave your porch light on along with one light switch inside the home so that you and repair crews know when service has been restored.
Suggested emergency supplies to carry in your car(s)
- Blanket(s)or sleeping bag
- Booster cables and tools
- Bottled water (water may freeze—use plastic containers and allow room in container for expansion)
- Canned fruits/nuts & can opener
- Necessary prescriptions
- Emergency flares and distress flag/sign
- First aid kit and reference guide*
- Flashlight & extra batteries
- Matches (in child-resistant, waterproof container)
- Portable radio & extra batteries
- Rain gear, walking shoes and socks, warm hat and gloves, and extra clothes
- Tow chain or rope
- Traction devices, bag of sand & shovel
- Windshield scraper & brush
*First aid kits, reference guides and car kits are available from the American Red Cross.