Winter Safety Tips

Preparing for a Winter Storm

At Home

  • Keep Handy:
    • A battery-powered flashlight
    • Radio
    • Extra food (canned or dried food is best)
    • Bottled water.
  • Make sure there are extra blankets and heavy clothes available.
  • Be aware of potential fire and carbon monoxide hazards if you plan to use an emergency heating source such as a fireplace, wood stove or space heater.

In a Vehicle

  • Have the following emergency supplies in your auto:
    • Shovel
    • Blankets
    • Windshield scraper
    • Container of sand
    • Battery booster cables
    • Tow chain or rope
    • Flashlight
    • Batter-operated radio
    • First-aid kit
    • High energy snacks (e.g. nuts, raisins, etc.).


  • Avoid overexertion, such as:
    • Shoveling heavy snow
    • Pushing a car
    • Walking in deep snow
    • Sweating could lead to chill and hypothermia
  • Wear lose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing in layers. Wear wool hat and mittens.
  • Keep your clothes dry. Change we socks and clothing quickly to prevent loss of body heat.

During a Winter Storm

At Home

  • To save heat, close off unneeded rooms, cover windows at night and stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
  • Maintain adequate food and water intake. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.

If Stranded in a Vehicle

  • Attach a cloth to your antenna to attract attention and then remain in the vehicle.
  • Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat. However, open the window slightly for fresh air and make sure that the exhaust pipe isn't blocked.
  • Get attention by turning on the dome light and emergency flashers when running the engine.
  • Exercise by moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

If Stranded Outside

  • Try to stay dry and cover all exposed parts of the body.
  • Prepare a wind-break or snow cave for protection from the wind. Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
  • Do not eat snow. It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.


Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio, television and cable stations for the latest updates on hazardous winter weather.

  • To ensure a continuous flow of weather information, make sure the NOAA Weather Radio or another radio or television, has a battery back up.
  • For NOAA Weather Radio information, including a station near you, view the NOAA Weather Radio page or contact your local Weather Service office.

For more information on winter storms, view the public "Winter Storms: The Deceptive Killers" produced by the National Weather Service, American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.