Know What To Do
Are You Ready for Winter?
Be Prepared at Home
Dangers with winter storms include:
- loss of heat
- loss of power and phone services
- shortage of supplies
Keep a Home Disaster Supply Kit during the winter months
Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Check to see if they are working
- Have your furnace/wood burning stove inspected annually
- Never run a gas or propane heater or gas grill inside your home or unventilated garage
- Generator should be run a safe distance from the house
Symptoms of Overexposure to Carbon Monoxide resemble the flu and include: Headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and confusion
Prevent Frozen Pipes
- Before the cold hits, insulate pipes in your home’s crawl space and attic.
- Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes.
- Seal leaks that allow cold air inside, near where pipes are located.
- Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
- When it gets cold, let warm water drip overnight from a faucet on an outside wall
- If you have pipes that aren’t insulated in an exterior wall near a sink, leave open cabinet doors beneath the sink to let warm air in.
- If your pipes freeze, call a plumber and turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame.
(information provided by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Get Your Vehicle serviced with a tune-up and routine maintenance
Check your battery
When the temperature drops, so does battery power
Check the cooling system
- When coolant freezes, it expands
- Make sure you have enough coolant and it is designed to withstand winter temperatures
- Check cooling system for leaks
- Check to see if system has been flushed.
- Coolant should be flushed every 7 years or 100,000 miles
Check your antifreeze
- Check that your antifreeze is a made for winter temperatures
- This should be checked every year
Fill your windshield washer reservoir
Consider using high quality “no freeze” wiper fluid
Check your windshield wipers and defrosters
Consider installing heavy duty wipers
Verify floor mat installation is accurate to prevent pedal interference
Inspect Your Tires
- Check out www.safecar.gov for tire ratings before buying new tires
- Are your tires properly inflated?
- Is the Tread sufficient?
- Check the Tire Pressure
- Check the Age of your Tires
Look for the tire identification number on the sidewall of the tires; it begins with DOT and the last 4 digits represent the week/year the tire was manufactured
Know Your car
- Be gentle with both the accelerator and the brake
- Practice cold weather driving, but not on main roads
- Drive Slower
- If skidding, stay calm and ease your foot off the gas while steering in the direction you want the front end to go.
Leave plenty of room for Snow Plows
Also obey the “Move Over” law which requires drivers to shift lanes or move over in order to provide a safety zone for Law Enforcement and First Responders
Plan your Travel and Route
- Check weather, road conditions and traffic
- Don’t Rush!
- Familiarize yourself with directions and map before you go, even if you are using GPS. Also, let others know your route.
- Keep the Gas Tank close to full.
- Wait until road conditions improve before venturing out.
Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- When stuck in the snow, keep vehicle’s exhaust pipe clear of snow and ice
- Run the vehicle only long enough to get warm
- When running the vehicle, keep the windows cracked open
Stock Your Vehicle
See ** "Winter Weather Emergency Vehicle Checklist
Learn what to do in a winter emergency
If you are stopped or stalled, follow the following Rules:
- Stay with your car and don’t over exert.
- Put a bright marker on your antennae or windows
- Keep interior lights on, if possible
- If you must run your car, keep exhaust pipe clear
- Run the car sporadically, just enough to keep warm, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, usually about 10 minutes for every hour.
Protect yourself and your loved ones
- Always wear your seatbelts
- Do not text and drive or be distracted by anything while driving
- Place blankets around young children after they have been harnessed
- Never leave your child/children unattended in or around a vehicle.
Winter Weather Emergency Vehicle Checklist
- Jumper Cables
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Warning Devices such as flares and markers
- Cell Phone with Charger
- First Aid Kit along with necessary medications, baby formula and diapers, if needed
- Food; non-perishable, canned food, nuts, energy bars
- Manual Can Opener
- Clothes; hat, gloves, boots, jacket, change of clothes
- Basic Tool Kit; pliers, wrench, screwdriver
- Pet Supplies; food and water
- Radio; battery or hand cranked
- Sand or Cat Litter for better tire traction if you get stuck
- Ice Scraper
Home Disaster Supply Checklist
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Battery powered NOAA weather radio and commercial radio
- Bottled water and non-perishable food that requires no cooking
- First-aid supplies
- Fire Extinguisher, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector
- Extra medication and baby supplies
- If you have an emergency heating source (fireplace, space heater), make sure your house has proper ventilation.
- Make sure your pets have shelter and plenty of food/water.
Tips for Traveling in Winter Weather
- Be aware of Weather Conditions
- Utilize your National Weather Service
- Check Road Conditions
- Stay Mobile on your mobile.
Visit mobile.weather.gov and bookmark it to your phone
- Winterize your Vehicle
See *Winterize Your Vehicle Checklist
- Have a Winter Weather Emergency Kit
See **Winter Weather Emergency Kit Checklist below!
- If you call 911
- Provide location, condition of everyone in the vehicle and problems you are experiencing.
- Follow instructions and wait until help arrives
- Do not hang up until you know who you have spoken to and what will happen next
- If you must leave your vehicle, write down your name, address, phone number and destination, and place piece of paper inside front windshield for someone to see.
- Winter Watches and Warnings: What do they mean?
See ****Winter Watches and Warnings
- Winter Weather Medical Conditions
See *****Winter Weather Medical Conditions ChecklistSafety First - Stay Informed
The National Weather Service (NWS) issues winter storm warnings and watches. Here’s what they mean and what you should do.
- Winter Weather Advisory – There is a high confidence that a hazardous winter event will occur over a 12 hour period (e.g., 3 to 5 inches of snow) but should not become life threatening if caution is used.
- Winter Storm Watch – Winter storm conditions including freezing rain, sleet, and heavy snow are possible within the next 36-48 hours. Continue monitoring the weather forecast.
- Winter Storm or Ice Storm Warning – A significant winter storm is occurring or will begin in the next 24- 36 hours. Heavy snow (e.g., 6 inches in 12 hours) or the combination of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and moderate winds will impact travel and outdoor activities and could become dangerous or deadly. An Ice Storm Warning is issued when mostly freezing rain is expected with ice accumulations of at least ¼ inch within a 12-hour period. When a Warning is issued, take necessary precautions – consider canceling travel plans.
- Blizzard Warning – A dangerous storm with winds that are 35 mph or greater in combination with falling and/or blowing snow that reduces visibility to 1/4 mile or less for a duration of at least 3 hours. Canceling travel plans is advised.
- Wind Chill Advisory – Issued for bitter cold wind chills of 20 to 34 below zero (25 to 34 below zero in the northwest portion of the state) Wind Chill Warning – Issued with wind chills of 35F below zero (40F below zero for far NW portion of Wisconsin). Frostbite is possible when outside for 10 minutes or less.
- Wind Chill Calculator: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/windchill.shtml
See Chart below: