The most important thing you can do is listen to weather forecasts, especially if you are going to be traveling.
Have your car winterized before your trip and make sure the gas tank is filled or nearly full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Using a fuel anti-freeze, such as HEET, will help, too.
You should also pack a winter weather kit and place it in your car. The kit should include:
- Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries
- Windshield scraper
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Snack food
- Extra hats, coats, and mittens
- Chains or rope
- Tire chains
- Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
- Road salt and sand to help tires get traction
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Bright colored flag or help signs
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Road maps
- Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water
- Hazard or other reflectors
- Emergency flares
- Emergency distress flag
- Necessary medications
- Tow chain or rope
Winterize your home, too:
- Have your chimney or flue inspected each year.
- Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector. Test the batteries each month and replace them twice a year.
- For older adults, keep an easy-to-read thermometer inside your home.
- Bring your pets indoors during the winter.
- Check on your neighbors
- Weatherproof your home.
Winterizing Your Home Checklist:
- Insulate walls and attic.
- Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
- Insulate any water lines that run along outer walls. This will make water less likely to freeze.
- Service snow-removal equipment.
- Have chimney and flue inspected.
- Install easy-to-read outdoor thermometer.
- Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structure during a storm.
Stay Warm When You’re Outside:
Staying out in the cold too long can cause serious health problems. Hypothermia and frostbite are the most common cold related health problems. bring extra gloves or mittens with you, or invest in disposable hand warmers, which can be purchased at your local store.
Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well.
Frostbite is a bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and color in affected areas. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation.
Signs of frostbite include--
Lack of feeling in the affected area; or skin that appears waxy, is cold to the touch, or is discolored (flushed, white or gray, yellow or blue).
What to do for frostbite--
- Move the person to a warm place.
- Handle the area gently; never rub the affected area.
- Warm gently by soaking the affected area in warm water (100–105 degrees F) until it appears red and
- feels warm.
- Loosely bandage the area with dry, sterile dressings.
- If the person’s fingers or toes are frostbitten, place dry, sterile gauze between them to keep them
- Avoid breaking any blisters.
- Do not allow the affected area to refreeze.
- Seek professional medical care as soon as possible.
Signs of hypothermia include--
Shivering, numbness, glassy stare; apathy, weakness, impaired judgment; loss of consciousness.
What to do for hypothermia--
- CALL 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- Gently move the person to a warm place.
- Monitor breathing and circulation.
- Give rescue breathing and CPR if needed.
- Remove any wet clothing and dry the person.
- Warm the person slowly by wrapping in blankets or by putting dry clothing on the person.
Hot water bottles and chemical hot packs may be used when first wrapped in a towel or blanket before applying. Do
not warm the person too quickly, such as by immersing him or her in warm water. Rapid warming may
cause dangerous heart arrhythmias. Warm the core first (trunk, abdomen), not the extremities (hands,
feet). This is important to mention because most people will try to warm hands and feet first and that can
Information courtesy of CDC.gov and the American Red Cross