Stock up on emergency supplies for communication, food, safety, heating, and car in case a storm hits.

Communication Checklist

  • Make sure you have at least one of the following in case there is a power failure:

    • Battery-powered radio (for listening to local emergency instructions). Have extra batteries.

    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio receiver (for listening to National Weather Service broadcasts).

Find out how your community warns the public about severe weather:
    • Siren

    • Radio

    • Television

  • Listen to emergency broadcasts.

  • Know what winter storm warning terms mean:

    • Winter Weather Advisory: Expect winter weather conditions to cause inconvenience and hazards.

    • Frost/Freeze Warning: Expect below-freezing temperatures.

    • Winter Storm Watch: Be alert; a storm is likely.

    • Winter Storm Warning: Take action; the storm is in or entering the area.

    • Blizzard Warning: Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snow drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.

Food and Safety Checklist

Have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies. If you live far from other people, have more supplies on hand.

  • Drinking water

  • Canned/no-cook food (bread, crackers, dried fruits)

  • Non-electric can opener

  • Baby food and formula (if baby in the household)

  • Prescription drugs and other medicine

  • First-aid kit

  • Rock-salt to melt ice on walkways

  • Supply of cat litter or bag of sand to add traction on walkways

  • Flashlight and extra batteries

  • Battery-powered lamps or lanterns
    (To prevent the risk of fire, avoid using candles.)

Water Checklist

Keep a water supply. Extreme cold can cause water pipes in your home to freeze and sometimes break.

  • Leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously.

  • Keep the indoor temperature warm.

  • Allow more heated air near pipes. Open kitchen cabinet doors under the kitchen sink.

  • If your pipes do freeze, do not thaw them with a torch. Thaw the pipes slowly with warm air from an electric hair dryer.

  • If you cannot thaw your pipes, or if the pipes have broken open, use bottled water or get water from a neighbor’s home.

  • Have bottled water on hand.

  • In an emergency—if no other water is available—snow can be melted for water. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most germs but won’t get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow.

Heating Checklist
  • Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:

    • Fireplace with plenty of dry firewood or gas log fireplace

    • Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters

  • Check with your local fire department to make sure that kerosene heaters are legal in your area.

  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.

  • Use electric space heaters with

    • automatic shut-off switches and

    • nonglowing elements.

  • Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.

  • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.

  • Have the following safety equipment:

    • Chemical fire extinguisher

    • Smoke alarm in working order (Check once a month and change batteries once a year.)

    • Carbon monoxide detector

  • Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:

    • Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet.

    • Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.

    • Use individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords to plug in other appliances.

Cooking and Lighting Checklist
  • Never use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stove indoors—the fumes are deadly.

  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns.

  • Avoid using candles.

  • Never leave lit candles alone.

Car and Emergency Checklist
  • Cell phone; portable charger and extra batteries

  • Shovel

  • Windshield scraper

  • Battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)

  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)

  • Water

  • Snack food

  • Extra hats, coats, mittens

  • Blankets

  • Chains or rope

  • Tire chains

  • Canned compressed air with sealant (emergency tire repair)

  • Road salt and sand

  • Booster cables

  • Emergency flares

  • Bright colored flag; help signs

  • First aid kit

  • Tool kit

  • Road maps

  • Compass

  • Waterproof matches and a can (to melt snow for water)

  • Paper towels