Some good tips from Montgomery County CERT:
As the winter season approaches, consider the following preparedness tips:
Add the following supplies to your disaster supplies kit:
Prepare your home and family
- Rock salt to melt ice on walkways
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
- Prepare to shelter in place by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
- Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
- Have a NOAA weather radio or a hand crank radio to receive weather reports and emergency information.
Winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins:
- Antifreeze levels - ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system - should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes - check for wear and fluid levels.
- Exhaust system - check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
- Heater and defroster - ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights - check for serviceability.
- Windshield wiper equipment - repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
Place a winter emergency kit in your car that includes:
- a shovel
- windshield scraper and small broom
- snack food
- extra hats, socks and mittens
- necessary medications
- booster cables
- kitty litter or sand/gravel
Dress for the weather:
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear gloves and a hat
If a storm hits:
- Listen to your radio, television or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, stay on main roads; avoid back roads and alleys.
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
- Dress for the weather.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack-a major cause of death during the winter.
- Watch for signs of frostbite-skin appears white and waxy, numbness or no feeling in that area and/or possible blisters.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia-shivering and numbness, confusion or dizziness, stumbling and weakness, slow or slurred speech and shock.
- Go to a medical facility immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing signs of hypothermia.