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Braving winter weather

Be prepared

Check on elderly and disabled people living alone. Make sure they are prepared for winter conditions.

Stock up on non-alcoholic beverages like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.  Also stock up on food that doesn't require preparation like canned soup.

Fill extra bottles and containers with water in case of a power outage.

Prepare your home

Have your furnace and wall heaters checked by a professional for safety.

Check all space heaters and keep them away from walls, curtains, and furniture.

If you have a gas heater or any gas appliances, invest in a carbon monoxide detector. (Carbon monoxide kills about 300 people in the U.S. every year.)

Replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and test the smoke alarms to make sure they work.

Check the batteries in your NOAA Weather Radio. Charge cell phones and anything else that needs charging.

When using heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater or other apparatus, use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.

Close off unused rooms.

Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.

Cover windows at night.

Cover exposed plumbing fixtures and pipes or leave dripping when temperatures drop below freezing.

Prepare a survival kit with supplies needed to survive for a minimum of three days, including bottled water, nonperishable foods for family and pets, sleeping bags or bedding, extra clothes, medicine, flashlights, a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, and a manual can opener. See a complete list of items.

Leave a porch light on to help power crews know when repair work is successful.

Disconnect or turn off any appliances that will start automatically when power is restored because if several appliances start at once, it may overload circuits.

Prepare your vehicle

Give your vehicle a maintenance check for tires, brakes, battery, heating and defrosting system and windshield wipers.

Keep your washer fluid full of a nonfreezing solution.

Change the antifreeze, if needed, to protect the engine and radiator from freezing in cold temperatures.

Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

Pack and carry a winter storm survival kit, including: blankets or sleeping bags; additional warm clothing; a flashlight with extra batteries; first-aid kit; knife; high-calorie, non-perishable food such as candy bars; small can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking; bag of sand or cat litter; shovel; windshield scraper and brush; booster cables

If you must drive ...

Plan your travel.

Check the weather before leaving.

Know numbers to call and Web sites to check for road conditions.

Let someone know your timetable and routes.

Watch out for your pets

Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and shelter.

Move animals to sheltered areas when possible.

Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.

Have water available; many animals can die from dehydration in winter storms.


Sources: NOAA; Georgia Emergency Management Agency.