Winter Emergency Preparedness

written by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, Division of Public Health Services

Another New England winter is upon us, and it is important to prepare for the possibility of severe weather, winter driving and potential power outages.

In addition to emergency preparedness notifications, detailed information on winter storms can be found by monitoring local TV, radio, or NOAA weather radio. The following tips can help you get ready for winter storms.

Before severe winter weather:

  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of severe weather.
  • Sign up for emergency alerts and download the NH Alerts app to receive public safety notices and severe weather warnings.
  • Complete a family emergency plan and make sure all family members are familiar with it. Don’t forget about the needs of your pets.
  • Be sure your home is well-insulated. Use weather stripping to keep warm air inside.
  • Build or restock your emergency kit. Gather supplies in case you need to stay inside for a few days without power.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected each year.
  • Make sure you have a cell phone with an emergency charging option in case of a power failure.
  • Learn the signs of and basic treatments for frostbite
At home:
  • Be sure all cell phones are charged.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Keep portable heat sources, such as space heaters, at least three feet away from curtains and drapes.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure that everyone in your home knows how to use them.
  • Know how to shut off water valves in your home, in case pipes freeze.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage opener is and how to use it, in case you lose power.
  • Check on elderly or disabled neighbors.

Carbon Monoxide Safety:

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or to an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.


  • Winterize your vehicle. Have a mechanic check your vehicle’s brakes, heater and defroster, tires, windshield wipers and all fluids to be sure everything is in good shape.
  • Have a separate emergency kit for your car. Be sure to include jumper cables, an ice scraper, shovel, extra blanket and sand.
  • Bring pets inside.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.
  • Only use portable generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage or connect it to your home's electrical system. If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.

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