Being Prepared

Food & Drink

Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids (water and juice; limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol) to prevent dehydration.

How to Be Prepared at Home

  • Keep a battery-powered radio and extra batteries for news and official broadcasts.
  • Store food that can be prepared without an electric or gas stove.
  • Stock emergency water and cooking supplies.
  • Have flashlights, battery-powered lamps, and extra batteries in case of a power outage. Candles and matches can be a fire hazard.
  • If you have a wood stove or fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them and knows fire prevention rules.
  • Keep in touch with elderly neighbors or family.

Be Prepared if You Go out

  • Wear layers of thin clothing instead of single layers of thick clothing.
  • Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. If you add unaccustomed exercise, such as shoveling snow or pushing a car, you may risk heart attack or stroke.
  • Mittens are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat; most body heat is lost through the top of the head.
  • Cover your mouth with scarves to protect your lungs from directly inhaling the extremely cold air.

Winter Driving Tips

  • If you must travel, take public transportation whenever possible. If you must use a car, take winter driving seriously. Travel by daylight, and keep others informed of your schedule. Drive with extreme caution; never try to save time by driving fast or using back-road shortcuts.
  • Make sure your car has fuel, and is equipped with chains or snow tires.
  • Keep your car "winterized" with antifreeze. Carry a "winter car kit" that includes a windshield scaper, flashlight, tow chain or rope, shovel, tire chains, a blanket, a bag of sand or salt, a fluorescent distress flag, and an emergency flare, in case you are trapped in a winter storm. Keep extra outerwear and pre-packaged food in the car. Make sure your windshield wipers are working properly and there is windshield washer fluid in the car.

If a Blizzard Traps You in Your Car

  • Pull off the highway; stay calm and remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you.
  • Turn on your emergency flashers and hang a distress flag from the radio aerial or window.
  • Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Be careful; distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close but be too far to walk in deep snow.
  • If you run the engine to keep warm, open a window slightly for ventilation. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Periodically clear away snow from the exhaust pipe.
  • Exercise to maintain body heat (by clapping and moving around), but avoid over-exertion. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat as a blanket.
  • Never let everyone in the car sleep at one time. One person should look out for the rescue crews.
  • Be careful not to use up battery power. Balance electrical energy needs - the use of lights, heat and radio - with supply.
  • At night, turn on the inside dome light, so work crews can spot you.