Are You Ready for a Winter Weather Emergency?

 

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

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