Winter Weather Health and Safety Tips

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Winter weather can pose health and safety impacts. Here are some important tips to help keep you and your family safe this winter season.

  • Plan for power outages.
    • Make sure your emergency kit contains light sticks, flashlights, and extra batteries. Candles can lead to house fires.
    • Have an alternative heat source and heat your home safely.
      • Practice generator safety to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never burn charcoal or use a generator indoors. Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector!
      • Keep heat sources, like space heaters, away from flammable objects.
    • Keep food safe. Be sure to throw out perishable food that has not been refrigerated or frozen properly.
    • Avoid downed powerlines.
  • Ensure you have a safe water supply.
    • Extreme cold can cause water pipes in your home to freeze. Leave water taps slightly open so they drip continuously.
    • When the power goes out, water purification systems may not be functioning fully. Check in with local/state health officials to see if any advisories are in place.
  • Eat and drink wisely.
    • Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer. Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages – they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm beverages or broth to help maintain body temperature.
    • Remember to practice food safety if the power goes out.
  • Stay connected and check on others.
    • Older adults, young children, and houseless people are more at risk of extreme cold. Monitor body temperature and do not ignore shivering.
    • Check on friends, family, and neighbors often. Provide help when you can or call 911 if there is an emergency.
  • Protect your pets and livestock.
    • Bring them inside and make sure they have plenty of food and water. If unable to bring them inside, move animals to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
  • Be safe during outdoor activities.
    • Dress warmly and avoid excess sweating. Avoid walking on ice or getting wet.
    • If hiking, skiing, or participating in other outdoor winter activities, let your friends and family know where you will be.
  • Be careful while traveling.
    • Listen for travel advisories and look at road conditions. Do not travel is low visibility conditions and avoid traveling on ice-covered roads.
    • Before you travel, fill up your gas tank, make sure your cell phone is charged, and have an emergency supply kit in your car. Not sure what should be in your kit? Visit
    • Protect yourself against accidents on the road. Don’t forget to clean off your car, turn on your lights, slow down, and leave extra distance between vehicles when driving in ice and snow.
    • Let others know you are traveling, your destination, and when you expect to arrive.

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