Winterize Your Home

Preparing For A Winter Storm

Winter storms can range from a brief period of extreme cold temperatures, to days of snow, blowing wind, and white-out conditions. Preparing in advance helps you tackle winter weather before it even begins. Two of the biggest safety issues as the winter season approaches is knowing how to deal with power outages in cold weather, and understanding how to drive (or when not to drive) in snowy conditions. Use these checklists to help beat the cold before it starts, and then head over to the Winter Driving Tips page to learn how to handle the snow.

Winter Storms Home Preparedness Checklist

  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic
  • Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment
  • Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing; Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing
  • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts)
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out
  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work

Carbon Monoxide Safety

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal—burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you

Source: NOAA.gov

Prepare For the Extreme

By the time severe weather hits, it's already too late. Disaster preparedness is about having an established safety plan. Whether it's preparedness for floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, or fires, the key to survival in disasters is planning. Use our preparedness section to stay informed, make a plan, and most importantly—remain safe in an emergency.