Before Snow Storms and Extreme Cold
To prepare for a winter storm, you should do the following:
- Add these supplies to your emergency kit:
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways (visit the Environmental Protection Agency website for a complete list of recommended products)
- Sand to improve traction
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
- Sufficient heating fuel
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm
- Make a family communications plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the NWS. Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supply kit in your vehicle.
- Bring pets and companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
- Stay indoors during the storm.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose. If you or a loved one shows symptoms, get medical help immediately.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If you or a loved one has symptoms of hypothermia, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel during the day. Don’t travel alone, keep others informed of your schedule, stay on the main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
- Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap the pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least 3 feet from flammable objects.
- Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dress for the Winter Weather
- If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
- Wear a hat. A hat will prevent loss of body heat.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
After Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
- Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.
- Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
FBinsure is committed to helping our clients stay safe when disaster strikes.