When winter storms hit, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, neighbors, volunteers, and nonprofit organizations, all of whom help provide emergency assistance to protect the public's health and safety. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has pre-staged emergency commodities across the U.S. should they be needed to support state and local emergency response operations.
Individuals in potentially affected areas are urged to have an emergency communications plan, monitor local radio or TV stations for updated information, and follow the instructions of state, tribal, and local officials. Download the FEMA mobile app, available in English and Spanish, to set up weather alerts, review preparedness information, and receive safety tips and an emergency kit checklist. FEMA encourages families to maintain emergency supply kits at home and in the car to help prepare for winter power outages and icy or impassable roads.
Extreme cold can be deadly. Stay inside where it is warm; check on your neighbors; and bring pets indoors. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow, which can bring on a heart attack--a major cause of death in winter.
Get to know the terms that are used to identify weather threats and discuss with your family what to do if watches or warnings are issued: a Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours; a Winter Storm Warning is issued when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent; a Blizzard Warning is issued when winds of 35 mph or greater and visibility is reduced to one mile or less are occurring or expected to occur, along with heavy snow, within the next 12 to 18 hours; an Ice Storm Warning is issued when at least one inch of ice is expected; a...