Although periods of extreme cold cannot always be predicted far in advance, weather forecasts can sometimes provide you with several days’ notice. Listen to weather forecasts regularly, and check your emergency kit whenever a period of extreme cold is predicted.
Prepare Your Home for Winter
- If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector, or find one in the yellow pages of your telephone directory under “chimney cleaning.” Also, if you’ll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly, and replace batteries twice a year.
- Your ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age, and older people are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. If you are over 65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently, and check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.
- Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze. To the extent possible, weatherproof your home by adding weather-stripping, insulation, insulated doors and storm windows, or thermal-pane windows.
- If you have pets, bring them indoors. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure that they have access to unfrozen water.
- Insulate walls and attic.
- Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
- Insulate any water lines that run along outer walls (water will be less likely to freeze).
- Service snow-removal equipment.
- Have chimney and flue inspected.
- Install easy-to-read outdoor thermometer.
Prepare Your Car for Winter
You can avoid many dangerous winter travel problems by planning ahead. Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends. In addition, every fall:
- Have the radiator system serviced, or check the antifreeze level yourself with an antifreeze tester. Add antifreeze, as needed.
- Replace windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture.
- Replace any worn tires, and check the air pressure in the tires.
- During winter, keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
What to do during a winter storm
- Keep posted on weather conditions. Listen to local media sources or your NOAA weather radio.
- Prepare for isolation at home. Keep an emergency kit on hand.
- Use lights for heat if the furnace goes out. Don't use gas stoves.
- Prevent wood/oil-burning stoves, fireplaces, or electric heaters from overheating and becoming fire hazards. Fill all liquid fuel heating devices outside buildings.
- Stay indoors. Overexertion from activities such as snow shoveling is a major cause of winter storm deaths.
- Dress in warm layers.
- Travel only if necessary, and then only in daylight on major roads. Check Oregon's Department of Tranportation Trip Check or call 5-1-1 before heading out.
- Do not travel alone. let someone know your schedule and destination.
If caught in a vehicle:
- Don't leave the vehicle unless help is in sight.
- Ensure proper ventilation while running the engine.
- Signal trouble by raising the hood, tying a cloth on the antenna, or turning on flashers.
- Don't burn anything in the vehicle.
Winter weather advisory
|Expect winter weather conditions to cause inconvenience and hazards|
|Expect below-freezing temperatures|
Winter storm watch
|Be alert; a storm is likely|
Winter storm warning
|The storm is in or entering the area|
|Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snow drifts, and life-threatening wind chill|