The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends some common-sense actions before and during a winter storm:
Before the storm
• Make sure you have rock salt or other products to melt ice on walkways.
• Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
• Wear adequate clothing and use blankets to keep you warm.
• Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
• Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
• Check your car’s antifreeze level.
• Maintain a full tank of gas to keep the fuel line from freezing.
• Repair any problems with windshield wipers and maintain proper washer fluid level.
• Keep in your car: windshield scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery-powered radio; water; snacks; extra hats, socks and mittens; first aid kit with pocket knife and necessary medications; blankets; road salt and sand; booster cables; emergency flares; fluorescent distress flag.
• Run water at a trickle to help prevent pipes from freezing.
• Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside and kept clear.
• Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
• Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
• Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
During the storm
• Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
• Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.
• Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
• If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
• Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least 3 feet from flammable objects.
• If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
• If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.