Proactive Planning for Winter Weather

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Winter has arrived in western North Carolina. Each Winter season we experience low temperatures, power outages, and winter storms. Having preparations in order for adverse weather can ease situational stress and can provide you with the tools you need for whatever may arise.

Winter Storm Prep

Considerations for Winter Storm Preparation:

Plan Ahead

Before adverse weather hits, have a disaster plan for yourself and your family. Develop strategies for staying informed, calm and connected.

Create an Emergency Kit

Some things to consider for your Car Emergency Kit:

  • Blankets, Hats, Gloves
  • Flashlight and Extra Batteries
  • Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Jumper Cables & Tow Chains
  • Hazard Signs or Other Emergency Flags
  • Shovel & Ice Scraper
  • Cell Phone with Portable Charger
  • Road Maps
  • Non-Perishable Ready-to-Eat food
  • Rock Salt, Sand or Kitty Litter: to improve traction in the snow

Some things to consider for your Home Emergency Kit:

  • A 3 day supply of water (1-2 gallons per person) at minimum , Ensure your water supply is changed every 6 months.
  • A two-week supply of non-perishable food.
    • Choose foods that require no refrigeration or cooking and little to no water added.
    • Choose foods with a long shelf-life and replace them before the expiration date.
    • Chose foods that are not spicy or salty because these foods increase water consumption.
    • Choose specific food items that meet the needs of babies, members of your family who are on special diets, and pets.
    • Consider storing paper plates, cups, paper towels and cutlery to eliminate the need for water with dish washing and do not forget a manual can opener.
    • IMPORTANT: Use camp stoves and charcoal grills outdoors only! These can pose dangers such as smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • First Aid Kit: Include non-prescription medications and ask your doctor about including a supply of current prescription medications. Keep it in an easily accessible area.
  • Clothing and Blankets to stay warm
  • Sanitation Supplies: Bleach, Soap, Toilet Paper and other Personal Hygiene Items
  • Specialty items such as Diapers, Extra Bottles, and Formula/Food for babies, Contact lenses/eye glasses,  a deck of cards/games for entertainment.
  • Other Emergency Tools/Items: Cell Phone Fully Charged, Cash, a Battery Operated Radio, Extra Batteries, Matches, Flash Light, Trash Bags, Utility Knife

Prepare Your Home

The biggest part of weatherproofing your home is to try to keep the heated air inside from escaping to the cold exterior of your home. An easy test is to shut your window or door on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out without ripping it, then you’re losing energy! You can use sealant or caulking compound in joints that are less than 1/4 inch wide, such as doors and window frames. For an accurate measure of air leakage from your home consider conducting an energy audit yourself or from a qualified energy auditor.

Before Winter arrives, consider scheduling an inspection for your chimney or flue and repair any water leaks in pipes or your roof. If your home has a fireplace, wood stove or kerosene heater make sure to install smoke detectors and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the heat source and check them monthly.

Prepare Your Vehicle

  • Keep your vehicle up to date on all maintenance in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.
  • To Improve Driving Visibility: Use specially formulated windshield wiper fluid to melt ice/frost and consider using Winter wiper blades.
  • Check your Tires: Ensure air is filled to proper pressure  and that you have minimal tread wear. Replace worn tires.
  • Fix your heater: It may be uncomfortable taking short trips around town when your heater is broken, but if you were to break down, consider what could happen if you were stuck in your vehicle for an extended time.
  • Replace your oil and anti-freeze to provide engine protection from freezing and to keep these parts lubricated and in good working order.
  • Inspect your battery: Have a professional inspect your batteries fluid and cables. Your vehicles battery capacity lessens in the cold weather.
  • Keep your tank close to full, not only to keep ice out of the tank and fuel lines, but to avoid running out of gas if unexpected events or detours arise.

Bring Pets Indoors

  • Animals should be able to get out of the elements.
  • If weather is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it is recommended that indoor pets should not be left outside.
  • An outdoor pet that is kept outside should have a well-insulated shelter that is large enough to allow it to curl up and maintain it’s body temperature.

For more information on Winter Preparedness:

A Disaster Kit for Staying at Home

Foods that Require No Cooking


CDC: Preparing for a Winter Storm

CDC: Food and Water Needs

Insulating and Weatherizing your Home

How Cold is Too Cold for Pets