Plan & Prepare
Winter Weather Preparedness: Safety at Home
Remember: Always stay ready with your Emergency Kit and Emergency Plan. Visit the NJOEM Basic Preparedness page for details.
Winterize Your Home
- Have your heating system checked by a professional once a year. This will ensure it is working safely and efficiently, and will help save you money. If you heat by wood, clean your fireplace or stove and have your flue checked for any buildup of creosote.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. If necessary,
insulate walls and attics. This will help conserve energy.
- Caulk doors and windows to keep cold air
- Install storm windows, or cover windows with plastic
from the inside. This will provide an extra layer of insulation.
- To protect pipes from freezing:
- Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.
- Let faucets drip a little, continuously.
- Know how to shut off your water valves. Keep a wrench near the valves.
- For more information: " Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes" from
the American Red Cross
- Inspect and flush your water heater.
- Clean gutters. Leaves and other debris will hamper drainage.
- Replace batteries for smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors.
If you did not do this when you set the clocks back, do it now.
- Create a place where your animals can be comfortable in severe winter weather. Make sure any outbuilding that houses or shelters animals can withstand wind, heavy snow and ice.
- Bring pets indoors. Horses and livestock should have a shelter protected from wind, snow, ice and rain. Grazing animals need access to a protected supply of food and non-frozen water.
- Make sure your animals have access to high ground in case you do not have time to relocate them during a flood.
- Be aware of the potential for flooding when snow and ice melt.
- Consider purchasing flood insurance. Homeowners' policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program if you are at risk.
If Power Goes Out
During a power outage:
- If someone in the home is on life-support or otherwise electric dependent due to a disability, immediately notify your Utility and your local Police Department.
For everyone else:
- Call your utility to determine area repair schedules.
- Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when the power returns. Leave one light on to let you know when power has been restored.
- Turn on faucets slightly to prevent pipes from freezing. Running water will not freeze as quickly.
- If pipes do freeze, never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch.
- Always remember the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.
- Use only safe sources of alternate heat such as a fireplace, a small well-vented wood or coal stove, or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturers' instructions and never substitute one type of fuel for another.
- Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Do not operate generators indoors.
- Do not use charcoal to cook indoors.
- Do not use your gas oven to heat your home.
- All of these activities can cause a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide gas. Use space heaters with proper ventilation.
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to avoid food spoilage.
- Dress in layers of lightweight clothing and wear a cap.
- Eat well-balanced meals to keep your body warm.
- Close off rooms you do not need.
Clearing Your Roof
- Clearing your roof is a dangerous task. Always think about safety first. If possible, do not attempt to clear the roof alone.
- When possible use long-handled rakes or poles.
- If you must use a ladder, make sure the base is securely anchored. Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb.
- Know where the snow is going to fall before clearing the area.
- Make sure you do not touch electrical wires.
- If the job is too big for you, HIRE HELP.