For The Season

Prepare for Winter

Extreme Cold

Adverse health effects from cold weather are not exclusive to cold northern climates, and cold, harsh weather can affect you whether you are inside or outside of your home.  Keep in mind the following health and safety tips for cold weather Indoor Safety / Outdoor Safety.

Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause other serious or life-threatening health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone an be affected. To keep yourself and your family safe you should know how to prevent cold -related health problems and what to do if a cold-weather health emergency arises.

The emergency procedures outlined here are not a substitute for training in first aid.  However, these procedures will help you know when to seek medical care and what to do until help becomes available.

Plan Ahead

Prepare for extremely cold weather every winter -- it's always a possibility.  There are steps you can take in advance for greater wintertime safety in your home and in your car.

Emergency supplies list:

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Although periods of extreme cold cannot always be predicted far in advance, weather forecasts can sometimes provide you with several days' notice.  Listen to weather forecasts regularly and check your emergency supplies whenever a period of extreme cold is predicted.

If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year.  Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector, or find one in the yellow pages of your telephone directory under "chimney cleaning."

Also, if you'll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated.  Test them monthly, and replace batteries twice yearly.

Your ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age, and older people are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold.  If you are more than 65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently, and check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.

Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze.  To the extent possible, weatherproof your home by adding weather-stripping, insulation, insulated doors and storm windows, or thermal-pane windows.

Winter Survival Kit For Your Home

Keep several days' supply of these items:

If your area is prone to long periods of cold temperatures, or if your home is isolated, stock additional amounts of food, water, and medicine.

Prepare Your Car for Winter

You can avoid many dangerous winter travel problems by planning ahead.  Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends.  In addition, every fall:

During winter, keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

Winter Survival Kit for Your Car

Equip your car with these items.:


Published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Center for Environmental Health

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