Winter Weather

Winter weather calls for preparation. Make sure your home and vehicles are ready when the cold weather arrives.

Listen to the weather forecasts and know what winter storm warning terms mean:

  • Winter Weather Advisory: Expect winter weather conditions to cause inconvenience and hazards.
  • Winter Storm Watch: Be alert; a storm is likely.
  • Winter Storm Warning: Take action: the storm is in or entering the area.
  • Blizzard Warning: Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snowdrifts, and life-threatening wind chill.

Checklist for Your Home

Have a 3-day supply of the following items:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Batteries for flashlights and radios
  • Money
  • Medication and prescriptions
  • Baby supplies

Winter months are the most deadly for fires. The increased risk in winter is due in part to more cooking and heating fires, holiday decorations, winter storms, and use of alternative heating sources such as kerosene heaters and wood stoves.

If there is a fire, immediately call 9-1-1. Waiting may cause a much larger fire.

  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and CO2 detectors.
  • Only use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters if they are properly
    vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space. Electric, plugin
    heaters can generally be used without venting.
  • If you use space heaters, wood stoves, or other heat-producing objects, maintain at
    least three feet of clearance between combustibles and your heat source.
  • Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors—the fumes are deadly.
  • Don’t leave heaters on when you leave the room or go to sleep, and never leave your
    children or pets alone near these heat sources.
  • Plug heat sources directly into the wall rather than into a power strip or extension cord
    so you won’t overload electrical circuits.
  • If you use a chimney, have it inspected annually and cleaned when needed. Be sure the
    ashes are cool before disposing, and use a metal container with a tightly fitted lid to
    store ashes. Ashes can take up to four days to cool down, so keep the container away
    from the house, deck, porch or anything that can burn!
  • If you use a kerosene heater, avoid overfilling and never fill while it is operating or hot.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended.

Checklist for Your Vehicle

Winter driving is hazardous — Plan ahead for dangerous winter travel!

  • Avoid driving on ice-covered roads, overpasses and bridges if possible.
  • If you are stranded, it is safest to stay in your car.
  • In addition to a show brush & ice scraper, consider keeping the following emergency supplies in your vehicle:
    • Cell phone; portable charger and extra batteries
    • Small snow shovel
    • First aid kit
    • Battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
    • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
    • Water & snack food
    • Blankets & extra winter clothing (gloves, hats, coats)
    • Chains or rope; tire chains
    • Canned compressed air with sealant (emergency tire repair)
    • Bag of salt, sand, or kitty litter
    • Booster cables
    • Emergency flares
    • Bright colored flag; help signs
    • Tool kit
    • Waterproof matches and a can (to melt snow for water)
    • Paper towels or cloths

Winter Vehicle Maintenance

Try to have at least half a tank of gas at all times. Keep your vehicle in good working order, and check the following to make sure you’re ready for winter:

  • Heater & defroster
  • Brakes & brake fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • Battery
  • Emergency flashers
  • Tires (tread wear and tire pressure)
  • Oil
  • Radiator
  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Windshield wiper blades

Don’t Crowd the Plow!

Plow truck drivers work hard to keep our roads safe and passable. Give them plenty of room!