Winter preparation for snowstorms and extreme cold

Date: January 31, 2019

The National Weather Service (NWS) refers to winter storms as the "deceptive killers" because most deaths are actually indirectly related to storms. People are injured or killed in traffic accidents on icy roads, or suffer from hypothermia due to prolonged exposure to the cold. Another major danger associated with winter storms is their ability to knock out heat, power, and communications, sometimes for days at a time.

Winter Preparation

  • Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood.
  • Make certain you have adequate clothing and blankets to keep warm.
  • Make a family communications plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together, and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.


During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Maintain ventilation when using portable kerosene and gas heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel portable heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
  • Dress for the weather.
    • 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.
    • Wear mittens, which can be warmer than gloves.
    • Wear a hat. A hat will prevent loss of body heat.
    • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.

The February 2019 ReadyPA Monthly also provides an overview of common winter weather terminology.

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Ferguson Township Winter Weather Fact Sheets