Winter Storm Prep

Here are important tips to keep your home and family safe before, during, and after a winter storm.


Before Winter Storms and Extreme Cold:

  • Be prepared for a winter storm before it hits.
  • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. 
  • Prepare your car! Keep your gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Make a plan to check on neighbors if extreme cold or winter weather knocks out your power
  • Charge cell phones, find flashlights (check batteries) and follow local officials online.
  • Click here for more recommendations

Assemble a Basic Disaster Supply Kit for Home and Car that includes:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Click here for more recommended supplies

Prepare in advance by creating Emergency Plans: 

During Winter Storm and Extreme Cold:

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Stay off roads if possible. If trapped in your car, then stay inside.
    • If you must drive: travel in the day;
    • don’t travel alone;
    • keep others informed of your schedule and your route;
    • stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Click here for Power Outage Tips

After Winter Storm and Extreme Cold:

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely.
    • Search for open shelters near you by texting SHELTER and your ZIP code to 43362. Example: Shelter 01234. (Standard text message rates apply.)
      • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, weather boots, mittens, and a hat.
    • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Carbon Monoxide Warning:

Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal – burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, on a deck or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.

This content is provided by ready.govThe official website of the Department of Homeland Security