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Winter Safety
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Winter Safety

Winter Safety

Now is the time to prepare for winter storms. The Twin Cities Area Red Cross urges families to take some simple safety steps to "Get Ready" for potential disasters. 


  • Ensure that each member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, and water-resistant boots.
  • After a storm, if you shovel snow, be extremely careful. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks. Dress appropriately, stay hydrated and avoid overexertion.
  • Follow forecasts and be prepared when venturing outside. Major winter storms are often followed by even colder conditions.
  • In case of an emergency at home build a disaster supplies kit; include enough supplies for each family member for three days.
  • You never know who may need to call for help. Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
  • Designate an out-of-town friend or relative to be the contact point for your family. In an emergency, it may be easier to call long distance as local phone lines may become overloaded.
  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • How to thaw frozen pipes? Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • If you become stranded - stay with the car, tie a piece of cloth to the car's antenna, and keep the car running while using the heater 10 minutes out of each hour. Remember to keep their interior lights on while the engine is running, and to avoid hypothermia by constantly moving your arms and legs.
  • Stay safe this holiday season. When attending a party, always designate a non-drinking driver. If you are the host of a holiday gathering, be sure there are non-alcoholic beverages available for guests who are driving.
  • During the holiday months, people travel more than ever. Wearing a seat belt is the easiest and best way to prevent injury in a motor vehicle collision.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is a high contributor to deaths in the winter. Be sure to install a CO detector/alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home. Make sure the detector/alarm cannot be covered up by furniture or draperies.
  • Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
  • Keep a winter storm survival kit in your car. This should include blankets, food, flares, chains, gloves and first aid supplies.
  • Weather-related illnesses also afflict millions during the winter months. Practice good health habits, such as getting plenty of rest, managing your stress level and drinking plenty of fluids.

Please Note: Get Ready tips are brought to you by our partners at the American Red Cross, Twin Cities Chapter. These tips may be reproduced in school newsletters or emailed to members of the school community.