Winter Storm Safety

Photo of a snowy street

Safety Tips

  • Avoid going outside and be aware of downed lines and poles if you must be outdoors.
  • Keep trees trimmed, to prevent limbs and branches from falling on power lines.
  • Use a broom to keep natural gas meters and piping clear during the winter. Never use a shovel, ice chipper, pole or similar tool or even hit your natural gas meter or piping as this may damage equipment.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated to keep temperatures warm inside.
  • Be sure to check on elderly and disabled friends and neighbors.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with supplies (flashlights, radios, batteries, non-perishable foods, water, medicines, blankets, warm clothes, etc.) to use in the event of a storm.
  • If you do lose power during a winter storm, remember the following:
    • Turn off lights and unplug appliances to prevent damage and overloading circuits once the power is restored.
    • Keep faucets on at a drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
    • Dress warm and in layers.
    • Close doors to unused rooms in the house.
    • Be cautious when using alternative heat sources and keep rooms properly ventilated.
    • Block cold air from coming in by stuffing towels underneath doors.
    • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for electrical outlets can help prevent injuries and electrocutions when installed in areas that may be affected by melting snow or ice. You can also purchase portable GFCIs for your emergency supply kits.

What You Can do Before Severe Weather Strikes
1. Develop a disaster plan for you and your family at home, work, school, and when outdoors. The American Red Cross
offers planning tips and information on a putting together a disaster supplies kit at:
2. Identify a safe place to take shelter. Information on how to build a Safe Room in your home or school
is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency at:
3. Know the county/parish in which you live or visit – and in what part of that county you are located.
The National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings on a county/parish basis, or for a
portion of a county/parish.
4. Keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.
5. Have a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver unit with a warning alarm tone and battery
back-up to receive warning bulletins.
6. National Weather Service (NWS) watches and warnings are also available on the Internet. Select your local NWS office
at: …or go to the to the NWS Home Page at
7. Listen to commercial radio or television/cable TV for weather information.
8. Check the weather forecast before leaving for extended periods outdoors. Watch for signs of approaching storms.
9. If severe weather threatens, check on people who are elderly, very young, or physically or mentally disabled. Don’t
forget about pets and farm animals.