How ready are you for a winter weather emergency? When I began to write this entry, winter had been colder than usual for much of the United States, and a massive winter storm was approaching the east coast. Such conditions pose significant danger to health and safety. I thought that it was a good time to review preparedness for cold weather emergencies.
Consult https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather for many helpful suggestions and links to prepare your family, home, and vehicle before a winter storm strikes. Highlights include:
- Establish an emergency communication plan in case your family isn’t together when winter weather strikes
- Keep an emergency kit—including food and water—on hand in the event power goes out or roads are impassable
- Winterize your home
- Be safe with heat sources and generators—prevent house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning
- Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.
- Know how to shut off water valves
- Check on elderly or disabled family and neighbors
- Take care of pets; bring them inside
- Know what to do in case of power outages. Make sure you consider:
- Alternate heating sources including extra blankets or sleeping bags
- Emergency charging options for devices like cell phones
- Alternatives if home medical equipment uses electricity
- Winterize your vehicle
- Keep an emergency kit in the car that includes cold weather-specific items
- Dress warmly—it’s especially important to cover head, ears, extremities.
- Walk carefully
- Drive carefully
- Avoid overexertion
- Protect from and watch for symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia
Submitted by Lavonne Adams, PhD, RN, CCRN