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January 17, 2018
Winter storm conditions can vary from a moderate snowfall over the course of a few hours, to a blizzard with blinding snow and dangerous ice that lasts for days.  Regardless of the severity, there are several steps you can take to keep your family and home safe during these events.

Tips on how to prepare for a winter storm

Know the Difference

First things first. Know the difference between these terms so you can properly prepare and respond.

Winter Storm Outlook – Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.
Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
Winter Storm Watch – Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
Winter Storm Warning – Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Prepare Before the Storm Hits

Whether you are preparing months ahead or getting ready for a storm coming in a matter of hours, these tips will help keep your mind at ease.

  • Install and check carbon monoxide alarms
  • Fully charge all cell phones
  • Seal gaps under your doors by installing draft stoppers or make your own by using old towels and linens
  • Know where the nearest public shelter is in the event your home loses power
  • Bring in all pets
  • If you will be away from your home during extreme weather, set the temperature no lower than 55 degrees.
  • Winterize your home
  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full so the fuel line does not freeze.

Put together a supply kit

  • Water and food- have at least a 3-day supply for each person, per day
  • Medication- have a 7-day supply
  • Pet supplies like food and carrier
  • Put flashlights, batteries, and candles in an easily accessible place
  • Battery powered radio & extra batteries
  • Gather extra blankets and warm clothing
  • Copies of personal documents like medication lists and personal identification
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Sand or other material that will make walkways less slippery
  • Toolbox

Weathering the Storm

In the midst of a winter storm, there are a number of ways you can stay safe until it has blown over.

  • Prevent pipes from freezing by running water on all faucets
  • Stay informed about a storm’s progress by listening to a national weather service radio station or watching your local news channel
  • Avoid driving. If traveling is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  • To allow warmer air to circulate around plumbing, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors. (If you have small children or pets, make sure to remove chemicals and household cleaners so they are out of reach.
  • Keep garage doors closed, especially if water supply lines are located in the garage


You can find other resourceful tips by the American Red Cross, along with a winter storm safety checklist by visiting here And if you’re looking for more tips and information to keep your family and home safe throughout the year, join us on Twitter and Facebook!

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