The danger remains even once a winter storm has passed. From home damage to risks of hypothermia or frostbite, there are numerous ways in which you can still be injured or worse in the aftermath of a major storm. Be sure to watch out for yourself and each other and use these tips to remain safe after a winter storm.
How to effectively stay safe after a winter storm
- Continue checking local news, a NOAA Weather Radio, or local emergency apps for updated information and instructions.
- If you suspect your pipes have frozen, call a plumber to inspect the pipes as soon as possible. If a pipe has indeed frozen and/or burst, shut off your home's water valve immediately.
- If you've lost power, use battery-powered flashlights rather than candles or other open flames for light. Many injuries and deaths result from accidental fires caused by candles during winter storms.
- Ensure any portable generators are at least 20 feet away from the house to avoid potential carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution and fire.
- Continue to conserve food and water until you can be sure it is safe to travel to replenish your food supplies, but be sure you’re drinking enough warm fluids or warm water to stay warm. Stay active to maintain body heat.
- Avoid walking outside on slippery or hilly surfaces until all ice has melted.
- Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of death during the winter.
- Be aware of the wind chill. Dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long. Wear a hat and gloves when appropriate with layers of clothing. Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold.
- Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved. Snow and ice can melt during the day and re-freeze overnight.
- If you've been stranded in a car by a winter storm, wait until the storm has passed completely before setting out on foot.
- Be sure to check near any pipes to look for signs of water damage. This could be signs of a damaged pipe.