Winter Safety Tips

Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.

Take These Steps for Your Home

  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
      • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
      • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

        Equip in Advance for Emergencies

        Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.

        • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
        • Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
        • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
          • Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;
          • extra batteries;
          • first-aid kit and extra medicine;
          • baby items; and
          • cat litter or sand for icy walkways.
        • Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
          • Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
          • Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
          • Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.

            Take These Precautions Outdoors

            Many people spend time outdoors in the winter working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. Outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare for them:

            • Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
            • Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
            • Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
              • Be aware of the wind chill factor.
              • Work slowly when doing outside chores.
              • Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
              • Carry a cell phone.