As we prepare for winter weather, it’s important for individuals and their families to begin preparing for the possibility of dangerous weather conditions and extreme low temperatures. Blizzards, freezing rain, ice, sleet, and snow can change or derail your plans, and, in some cases, limit your ability to leave the house. Planning and preparing for these weather conditions before they arrive can help keep you and your family safe.
“By the time a storm arrives, it may be too late for you to get the materials you need to prepare for it,” explains Steven Gamburg, MD, Chief of Emergency Medicine for Main Line Health. “There are many steps you can take ahead of time to prepare your home, vehicle, and family for the effects of severe weather. The more prepared you are by the time a storm arrives, the better.”
Below, Dr. Gamburg offers some emergency preparedness tips in the event of winter weather.
Stock Up. One of the basic storm tips to follow, in any weather event or season, is to stock up on materials in the event of a power outage. Make sure you have extra flashlights, batteries, candles, blankets, and firewood to last for up to a week without electricity or heat.
Stay Indoors. During a storm, everyone is encouraged to stay indoors. If you must go outside, try to limit your time outdoors to no more than a few minutes at a time and wear several layers of warm clothing, including a hat and gloves. Be careful when walking on icy or snowy roads or sidewalks.
Tune Up. In preparation for winter, take your car in for a tune-up. The motor oil, radiator, tires, battery, and ignition system should be in top condition to perform well during the winter. In the event of a storm, make sure that your gas tank is at least half full in the event that you are not able to fuel up for an extended period of time.
Clean Up. If a storm is headed your way, remove tree branches on your property that could fall on power lines, a home or another structure. Make sure you have plenty of rock salt available, as well, to pour on driveways and sidewalks to decrease the risk of falling on snow or ice.
Drive Safely. Try to avoid driving or leaving your home during a storm. If you must drive, make sure to maintain a safe following distance to other vehicles and drive slowly, especially on icy or snow-covered surfaces. Adhere to all traffic restrictions and advisories set forth by your local government.
Throughout the season, winter storms will vary by severity, but keep these tips in mind and pay attention to warnings and advisories issued by your local government.
For more emergency preparedness tips, visit the Main Line Health website. In the event of an injury or health emergency during a storm, call for emergency medical assistance.