Family Disaster Plan - Winter Storms

Before the Storm Strikes

At home and at work, primary concerns are the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service, and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. Have available:

  • Your Family Disaster Plan
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information - These may be your only links to the outside
  • Extra food and water
  • High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best
  • Extra medicine and baby items
  • First-aid supplies
  • Heating fuel - Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a severe winter storm
  • Emergency heating source, such as a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.
  • Learn to use emergency heating sources properly to prevent a fire
  • Have proper ventilation
  • Fire extinguisher and smoke detector - Test units regularly to ensure they are working properly
  • In cars and trucks:
    • Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm!
    • Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins.

Make a Storm Survival Kit

Carry a winter storm survival kit in your vehicle. This should include the following: 

  • Blankets / sleeping bags
  • Booster cables
  • Compass and road maps
  • Extra clothing to keep dry
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • High-calorie, non-perishable food
  • Knife
  • A large empty can and plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes
  • Sack of sand (or cat litter)
  • Shovel
  • A smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water
  • Tool kit
  • Tow rope
  • Water container
  • Windshield scraper and brush

Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Try not to travel alone. Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.

Survival On The Farm

  • Move animals to sheltered areas. Shelter belts, properly laid out and oriented, are better protection for cattle than confining shelters, such as sheds.
  • Have a water supply available. Most animal deaths in winter storms are from dehydration.

Dress To Fit the Season

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air insulates. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded.
  • Wear a hat. Half your body heat loss can be from the head. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves. Try to stay dry.