How to Prepare for Bad Winter Weather


Winter storms usually occur in the months of December and January. These storms can consist of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and ice. All of these dangerous activities should be taken very seriously. The most dangerous is the ice storm. This can literally cause bad car accidents and difficult travel patterns. It’s best to stay stationary in this type of weather. A lot of people don’t know how to judge whether or not it’s worth the risk of leaving their homes when this type of activity occurs, and it usually ends in bad results. You just have to use smart judgment.

Bad Winter Weather Preparedness Checklist.

Water for Drinking.

Enough for three days; one gallon per person per day, minimum.


Choose non-perishable, easy-to-prepare foodstuffs, and have three days’ worth. Canned goods, with can opener; ready-to-eat foods; high energy snacks.

Medications and First Aid.

Make sure that all prescriptions are filled ahead of time, and also keep on hand basic OTC medications that might come in handy, such as Tylenol, Advil, Pepto-Bismol or Benadryl. Don’t forget to include a fully stocked first aid kit as well!


Keep a variety of sizes and types of batteries on hand, including standard AA, AAA, C, and D batteries. This way you can power up your flashlights and other devices that require them.

Portable Generator.

If possible, have a portable generator on hand so that you can quickly restore power to essential appliances, such as refrigerators and medical equipment, if needed. Be sure to read and follow all safety instructions when using generators.

Flashlights With Extra Batteries.

Keep plenty of these around in case the electricity goes out, with extra batteries for each room of the house.


A battery-run or hand-cranked radio can keep you updated on weather conditions and other emergency information when the power goes out.

Hygiene and Sanitation Items.

Remember to account for the possibility of pipes freezing. Hand sanitizer and/or wipes; toilet paper; personal hygiene items like soap and toothpaste; garbage bags for waste management.

Emergency Cell Phone Charger.

An external battery charged with a wall adapter or car charger that you can use to recharge your cell phone or other small devices when you do not have access to an electrical outlet. Conserve battery in case of an emergency.

Pet Supplies.

Include food, water bowls and extra medications for pets if needed. Be sure to include leashes as well so you can easily transport your pets if you have to evacuate.

Important Documents.

Keep important documents like identification cards, bank statements, insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, deeds, and lists of medication/medical information in a waterproof container to take with you if you must evacuate. It’s also important to make digital copies of these documents so that they can be accessed electronically from anywhere.

Extra Cash.

It’s always a good idea to take a little cash out of the bank before a weather emergency in case you need it. Keep some small bills and coins on hand in case stores are unable to accept credit cards during power outages. It’s also important to have cash available for possible evacuation expenses as well as hotel stays, transportation costs, etc.

List of emergency contacts and family members.

Write down all important names and numbers for every reference. Make sure everyone in your household knows who to call during an emergency, and that they have all necessary contact information such as phone numbers and addresses handy. You should also keep a list of important contacts posted near the telephone in case it is not available during a power outage.

Alternate source of heat.

A fireplace or a wood or coal-burning stove can be a lifesaver in winter weather; make sure you have plenty of whatever fuel your alternative source of heat requires.

Car Emergency Kit.

Items such as jumper cables; an ice scraper; a flashlight; road flares; a fire extinguisher; an emergency triangle or reflector; and a bag of salt, sand, or cat litter in case you get stuck in the snow.

Fire Extinguisher.

Have at least one fire extinguisher on every floor of your home in the event of a gas or electric-related fire due to bad winter weather conditions.

Warm Blankets and Clothes.

Sometimes alternative sources of heat aren’t an option; bundle up with plenty of layers, opting for warm, loose-fitting clothes. Make sure every member of your household also has boots, hats, gloves, and other winter outerwear.

Sand, Rock Salt or Non-Clumping Kitty Litter.

These materials can be spread around the perimeter of your home to provide traction in icy conditions. They can also help you get your car unstuck if you happen to get stuck in snow or ice. These can all be used post-storm to make walkways and steps less slippery.

Communication Plan.

Develop a plan for how family members can stay in touch in case of an emergency. This should include a designated meeting place and contact information for each family member.

Any Special Needs Items.

If there’s anything needed by any member of your household on a daily basis that isn’t listed here – don’t forget about it!

Additional Tips:

  • Make sure to turn off any electrical appliances before leaving your home.
  • Keep an extra set of keys to your home/cars/business handy so you do not get locked out if roads become impassable due to weather conditions.
  • Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas before winter weather arrives, so you do not have to venture out in bad conditions.
  • Have an emergency kit in your car with items like blankets, flashlights, batteries, bottled water and a first aid kit.
  • Stay tuned into local news outlets for weather forecasts and other important information throughout the winter months.
  • Be prepared to use common sense when it comes to winter weather. If it’s too dangerous to drive, stay indoors and wait for conditions to improve.
  • Finally, make sure you have a reliable source of heat should your power go out. Fireplace logs, kerosene heaters or stoves can come in handy if temperatures drop dangerously low.

By following these tips and having an emergency plan in place, you’ll be better prepared if severe winter weather strikes. By taking proper precautions now, you can help ensure that you and your family stay safe during cold winter months.

Remember – it’s always better to err on the side of caution and over-prepare for an emergency that never occurs than to be underprepared when a winter storm hits.

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