Emergency Preparedness Tips for Winter Storms

Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain. One of the main concerns is that winter weather can knock out heat, power, and communication, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can have serious effects on an entire region. Icy roadways can cause serious accidents.

Bitter cold and winter storms kill more than 100 people in Canada every year.


Winter storm tips

  • Listen to a local news channels for critical information on snow storms and blizzards.
  • Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • During winter storms, icy roads challenge even the most experienced drivers. If you must travel during a snowstorm, do so during the day and let someone know your route and expected arrival time. Where possible, stay on cleared routes.
  • Power outages are often caused by winter storms which damage power lines and equipment. During a power outage, you may be left without heating, lighting, water, or phone. 
  • To prepare for a power outage, you and your family should have a Family Emergency Survival Kit (including a battery-powered or wind-up radio) and be prepared to cope on your own during a power outage for at least 72 hours.
  • If you must go outside, dress for the weather. Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

SOS: Snow off sidewalks