Making a plan is key to winter preparedness

Winter weather can have unpredictable consequences. This is Minnesota Winter Hazard Awareness Week as state and local emergency managers provide tips on how to best prepare for the coming cold season. o Make a kit. Check to see if there are reser...

Winter weather can have unpredictable consequences.

This is Minnesota Winter Hazard Awareness Week as state and local emergency managers provide tips on how to best prepare for the coming cold season.

• Make a kit. Check to see if there are reserve supplies on hand to keep warm and safe for an extended time without electricity, heat or access to markets or services?

• Stay informed. Get a battery powered TV, radio or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio.

• Keep extra batteries handy.


• Take it easy. Cold puts extra strain on the heart. Heavy exertion such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car can increase the risk of heart attack.

• Don't overheat. Dress warmly, but peel layers as necessary to stay comfortable.

• Slow down. Rest frequently to avoid overexertion when working outdoors. If individuals experience chest pain, they should stop and seek help immediately.

• Stay hydrated.

• Stay alert. Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Warm extremities frequently.

For Kids

• Stay inside during snowstorms. Blowing snow and cold can make it hard to see and easy to get lost - even close to home. Wait until the storm is gone to go outside.

• Dress right. When going out to play after a storm, dress in snowsuits or layers of clothing, waterproof coat and boots, mittens or gloves and a hat. Avoid cotton clothing or socks as they can soak up water and offer little warmth.


• Wear a hat. Body heat is lost through the head, so always wear a hat or hood. Cover your ears, too. They are easily subject to frostbite.

• Wear gloves. Mittens are even better than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.

• Use a scarf. Keep your neck warm. A scarf can also be worn over the mouth to help protect the lungs from extremely cold air.

• Warm up. Go inside often for warm-up breaks. Long periods of exposure to severe cold and wind increases the risk of frostbite or hypothermia. If starting to shiver a lot or getting very tired, or if skin turns numb or pale on the nose, fingers, toes or earlobes, go inside right away and tell an adult.

• Stay away from streets and snowplows. Plows can't slow down or turn quickly, and the snow and salt they throw can hurt. Cars may slide out of control and hit pedestrians in the street.

• Stay off of ice. Unless a lake or pond has been checked by an adult for thickness and safety, don't go out on the ice.

Pets and animals

• Provide a shelter. Create a place where animals can be comfortable in severe winter weather. Make sure any outbuilding that houses or shelters animals can withstand wind, heavy snow and



• Bring pets indoors; shelter livestock from wind, snow, ice and rain. Grazing animals need access to a protected supply of food and non-frozen water.

Special needs

• For elderly people and those dependent on assistance or medical equipment, plan now to ensure their needs will be met if winter weather results in power outages, makes

communication difficult or prevents personal contact.

• Make a kit. Stock an emergency kit including a flashlight and extra batteries, extra blankets, a

battery-operated radio with fresh batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, extra essential

medicines and other necessities.


• Have backup power. If a standby generator or another alternate power source is used, be sure it is functioning properly and that a trained person operates it. Be aware of carbon monoxide produced by generators. Never use them in enclosed spaces - even garages.

• Notify others. Plan with others who could help, such as nearby neighbors, relatives or friends. Exchange phone numbers and always have someone check in after a severe storm or power outage.

• Notify utilities. Register as a special-needs individual with the local utility to become a priority

customer during blackouts and emergencies. Do this before weather strikes.

• Notify authorities. Also inform the county or city office of emergency management and the Police or Fire Department that there is a special-needs resident at the address.

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