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Emergency Preparedness

Winter Storms/Blizzards

A winter storm can range from moderate snow over a few hours to blizzard conditions with blinding wind-driven snow that last several days.

A severe winter storm is one that drops four or more inches of snow during a 12-hour period, or six or more inches during a 24-hour span.

The aftermath of a winter storm can impact a community or region for days, weeks, and even months. Storm effects such as extreme cold, flooding, and snow accumulation can cause hazardous conditions and hidden problems for people in the affected area.

Steps you can take

  • Service snow removal equipment and have rock salt on hand to melt ice on walkways and kitty litter to generate temporary traction.
  • Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.


Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit
Include items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, first aid supplies, extra flashlights and batteries. Store it in your shelter location.

Make a Family Emergency Plan
In case family members are separated from one another during a winter storm (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.

Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

Teach children how and when to call 911 and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.

Winterize your home
Insulate your walls and attic. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.

Keep pipes from freezing
Wrap your pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers. If you must use newspapers, cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.

Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing and know how to shut off water valves.

Last updated: 11/12/2012 10:25 AM