Winter Emergency Preparedness Tips
Posted on 12/04/2019

Preparing for winter emergencies makes good sense and doing so can make life easier in the long run. By taking a few simple steps you can prepare yourself, your household and your vehicle for any unexpected consequences that winter may bring. To help you get started with your preparations we have listed below some basic winter emergency preparedness tips.

Get Your Flu Vaccine

Getting the flu affects people in different ways. Those of us who are in good health will usually recover from the flu within a week or so. However, for older people, young children, and people with chronic health conditions, the flu can be much more serious and lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.

Store Extra Food and Freeze Milk and Bread 

If severe winter weather hits, you may not be able to get out to buy food. It’s a good idea to store a little extra nonperishable food such as canned and dried food for when this happens. Also, consider stocking up your freezer with extra bread and milk for when you can’t get to the store.

Family Communication

It's possible that your family will not all be together when an extreme winter event happens. It’s important to know how you will contact each other and what you will do during such an emergency. Talk with other family members about this and make a family communications plan.

Check Your Heating System

Cold weather can be a risk to health, particularly for the elderly or people who have health conditions. Ideally, you should heat your home to a temperature of at least 65 degrees. It’s a good idea to keep handy some warm winter clothing, blankets, or sleeping bags in case the heating fails completely.

Check That Your Pipes Are Insulated

Ensuring that your pipes are properly insulated has two main benefits: you will keep more heat in which in turn will save you money and insulating pipes reduces the risk of them becoming frozen and bursting causing flooding and leaving your home without water.

Know the Location of Your Water Shutoff Valve

Do you know where your water shutoff valve is located? It’s something everyone in the house should know so that you can turn off the water to your home quickly if there is a problem.

Power Failures

Extreme winter weather can cause temporary power outages so make sure you have the following items: cell phone, candles, lighter or matches, portable charger, flashlight, spare batteries, and a battery-powered or hand crank radio for listening to local emergency instructions.

Check Your Tires

In severe winter weather conditions, it becomes extremely difficult and dangerous to drive a vehicle that has low tire tread levels. Make sure you have adequate tires and tread for the conditions you may have to drive in.

Top Off Your Windshield Washer Fluid

Using windshield washer fluid will help to keep your windshield free of dirt and winter road grime caused by road salting and gritting which can cause visibility issues. Make sure you use one rated for winter so it can handle snow and freezing conditions. 

Prepare a Winter Vehicle Survival Kit

Becoming stranded in your vehicle during winter months could be dangerous, so it’s important to prepare a winter vehicle survival kit. Your Kit should contain items such as an ice scraper, de-icer, jumper cables, shovel, blanket, and flashlight. It's also a good idea to have food and water in case you're stuck in your vehicle for more than a couple of hours.

Make an Alternative Travel Plan in Case Of Severe Weather

Consider making an alternative travel plan for how you might get to work in the event of severe weather.

Don’t Forget About Your Pets

During the winter your pets will also need protection from extreme temperatures. If you find it is too cold for you, it’s most likely to be too cold for your pets. Make sure you can provide the following for your pets: plenty of food and water, medications they need, and a warm, dry, and draft-free shelter.

Recommended Reading

How to Make an Effective Home Emergency Plan

CDC – Winter Weather Checklists

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets