Man Walking In Snow Storm
Image courtesy of Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blizzards

A severe weather condition characterized by low temperatures, winds 35 mph or greater and sufficient falling and/or blowing snow in the air to frequently reduce visibility to ¼ mile or less for a duration of at least 3 hours.

    What to do before

    Build a safety kit and include the following additional items:

  • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways.
  • Sand to improve traction.
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
  • Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
  • Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • Listen and be on alert for any weather changes reported on Weather Radio or local radio news.
  • Limit travel.
  • Bring pets inside during winter weather.
  • What to do during

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Keep clothes dry.
  • Watch for signs of frostbites: These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia: These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary.
  • Let someone know your whereabouts throughout your drive.
  • If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
  • Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
  • What to do after

  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers.
  • Stay indoors, if possible.