CDC Emergency Partners - Winter Weather Safety Tips

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January 10, 2018


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CDC's Emergency Partners newsletter provides updates, resources, and useful tips to subscribers interested in emergency preparedness and CDC's emergency responses.

Don't keep this great resource to yourself! Please share it with your colleagues and networks. If you would like more information on Emergency Preparedness and Response, visit CDC's Emergency Preparedness & Response website.

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DID YOU KNOW?

  • Having poor blood circulation puts you at greater risk for frostbite.
  • Wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers of clothing will hold more body heat than cotton.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can catch fire.


Safe Travel During Winter Weather

Cars driving on highway in the snow

When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.

  • If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected. Have an emergency kit for your car as well as your home.

Staying in your car when stranded is often the safety choice if winter storms create poor visibility or if roadways are ice-covered.

  • Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away.
  • If you stay inside your car, keep moving your arms and legs to improve your circulation and stay warmer.
  • Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
  • Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
  • Keep a downwind window open.
  • Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.


Indoor Safety during a Winter Storm

Woman looking at phone in front of fireplace

Make sure your fireplace is properly vented before you cozy up to the fire.

 

Heat Your Home Safely

If you plan to use a wood stove, fireplace, or space heater, be extremely careful. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and remember these safety tips:

  • Use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space.
  • Have your heating system serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do not burn paper in a fireplace.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation if you must use a kerosene heater.
  • Use only the type of fuel your heater is designed to use—don’t substitute.
  • Do not place a space heater within 3 feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture, or bedding. Never cover your space heater.
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
  • Make sure that the cord of an electric space heater is not a tripping hazard but do not run the cord under carpets or rugs.
  • Avoid using extension cords to plug in your space heater.
  • If your space heater has a damaged electrical cord or produces sparks, do not use it.
  • Store a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher near the area to be heated.
  • Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never using generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices inside the house, in basements, in garages, or near windows

Light Your Home Safely

If there is a power failure:

  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns rather than candles, if possible.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended.

Use Generators Safely

Generators should be located at least 20 feet from any window, door or vent -- preferably in a space where rain and snow does not reach them.

  • Never use an electric generator indoors, in the basement, inside the garage, or near open windows or the air intake of your house because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Plug in appliances to the generator using individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords.
  • Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet because of the risk of electrocution.
  • Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.

CONTACT US

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Email: EmergencyPartners@cdc.gov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333

Questions?

Contact CDC-INFO

800-CDC-INFO    (800-232-4636)    TTY: 888-232-6348