Cold weather safety tips
Operation Weather Survival and United Way 2-1-1 remind you to take care during cold weather advisories, warnings and emergencies. For information on what to do during a cold-weather emergency, or to find warming shelters call 2-1-1 from a land line or 800-427-4626 from cell phones. Individuals who need help locating resources to pay for heating bills can call United Way 2-1-1 at 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626 to find information. All calls are free and confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days per year. If your organization would like to be listed as a warming shelter, please contact 2-1-1.
Taking preventative action is your best defense against having to deal with extreme cold-weather conditions. By preparing your home and car in advance for winter emergencies, and by observing safety precautions during times of extremely cold weather, you can reduce the risk of weather-related health problems.
Below are tips, compiled by Operation Weather Survival to help keep you safe and warm during cold weather emergencies.
• Dress in layered clothing and wear some sort of head gear/covering
• Check space heaters for sufficient ventilation and wire condition
• Never place space heaters close to flammable objects, such as drapes or bedding or on top of furniture or near water
• Make sure fireplace flues are working properly
• Check extension cords for breaks or fraying
• Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors
• Check on your neighbors – especially the elderly
• Keep pets inside
• Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
• Insulate walls and attic.
• Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
• Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
• Insulate any water lines that run along outer walls (water will be less likely to freeze).
• Service snow-removal equipment.
• Have chimney and flue inspected.
• Install easy-to-read outdoor thermometer
• Prepare your home and car for cold weather – safety kits are available
winter storm hits:
• Have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies
• Keep a water supply
• Make sure you have at least one of the following in case there is a power failure:
- Battery-powered radio (for listening to local emergency instructions). Have extra batteries
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio receiver (for listening to National Weather Service broadcasts)
- Find out how your community warns the public about severe weather
- Listen to emergency broadcasts
• Winter weather advisory (Expect winter weather conditions to cause inconvenience and hazards.)
• Frost/freeze warning (Expect below-freezing temperatures.)
• Winter storm watch (Be alert. A storm is likely.)
• Winter storm warning (Take action. The storm is in or entering the area.)
• Blizzard warning (Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snow drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.)
Much more cold-weather related information is available at these sites:
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Winter weather
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Power outages
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Emergency preparedness and response
• American Red Cross
• Winter storm preparedness
• Frozen pipes
• Pet protection
About United 2-1-1
2-1-1 is a fast, free and confidential way to find resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 2-1-1 call centers operate under national standards and are staffed by trained specialists who quickly assess the callers’ needs and refer them to the help they seek. Information is available on a broad range of services, including food pantries, affordable housing, health resources, child care, after-school programs, elderly care, financial literacy, and job training programs. www.211helps.org
OWS is a coalition of local government, for-profit and non-profit organizations that coordinates resources and educate the public to prevent illness and death caused by extreme hot or cold weather. United Way handles the administration and call center for OWS.