Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. They can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A WINTER STORM WARNING
- FIND SHELTER RIGHT AWAY.
- Stay off the roads.
- Clear exhaust vents.
- Stay indoors and have warm clothes ready.
- Bring your pets inside.
- Listen for emergency information and alerts.
- Locate electrical boxes and water shut off.
- Prepare for power outages.
- Use generators outside only.
- Look for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
- Check on neighbors.
Plan Ahead Now Before an Emergency Happens
During extremely cold weather, staying warm and safe can be a challenge. Learn how to prepare for winter storms, prevent cold temperature-related health problems, and protect yourself, your family, and your pets during all stages of a winter storm.
- Learn how to make a plan before an emergency happens.
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Build a Kit
- Build an emergency kit for your home.
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- Have a supply of medications and first aid supplies.
- Have extra food, water and warm clothing.
- Have a portable radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
- Exchange contact info with your neighbors and neighbors of loved ones.
- More items to include.
- Build an emergency kit for your car
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- Keep your gas tank full.
- Have tires with good tread.
- Know how to use jumper cables.
- Do not drive through flooded areas.
- If a power line falls on your car stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
- More items to include.
Download the free Ready Erie App to receive notifications, locate emergency shelters, view up-to-date evacuation maps, create a personalized emergency preparedness plan and more.
Listen to commercial radio and television stations for the latest winter weather conditions. These resources may also be helpful.
- NYS Thruway Authority Website
- NY State Press Releases
- Erie County Press Releases
- Erie County Homeland Security and Emergency Services Website
- ECDOH Press Releases
- Check your city, town, or village website
- Your personal health and safety can be in danger during extreme winter cold. When temperatures drop and as wind speed increases, heat can leave your body quickly and can lead to serious health problems. Problems such as hypothermia, frostbite, heart disease, and carbon monoxide poisoning can happen. If you are experiencing symptoms of any of these call 911 Immediately.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide, or “CO,” is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you. CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
CO Poisoning Symptoms
CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are:
- Upset stomach
- Chest pain
More Info About CO and CO Poisoning
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) FAQs
- How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Generator Safety and Quick Guide to Generator Safety
- Space Heater Safety
Help for Seniors
- Seniors are especially at risk for cold weather illness. Visit the Department of Senior Services website for information on emergency preparedness for seniors.
Protect Your Pets
See links below, keep pets indoors and safe and contact your veterinarian for any questions you have regarding your pets.
- American Veterinary Medical Association - Cold Weather Pet Safety
- SPCA of America - Cold Weather Safety Tips
- Humane Society of the US - Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather
Help for the Homeless
- Code Blue Shelters - Dial 211 anytime of day or night for assistance.
- To receive Code Blue updates for the City of Buffalo, text CodeBlueBuffalo to 898-211.
- WNY Coalition for the Homeless
- Homeless Alliance of WNY
- Code Blue Relief Mission (Facebook Page)
- Buffalo City Mission - 100 E Tupper St., Buffalo, NY 14203, (716) 854-8181
- St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy - 325 Walden Ave., Buffalo, NY 14211, (716) 894-4476
Help for Restaurant Owners
- When the Power Goes Out - A Guide for Food Operators
- ECDOH advisory for restaurants that loose power - Recommendations and advice to prevent food poisoning and illness from spoiled foods after a power outage
Additional Winter Safety Resources
- Let's Get Ready for Winter Health Equity Newsletter
- Frozen Pipes: Learn how to prevent water pipes from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze.
- Don't Be Left in the Dark: Booklet to help you prepare for power outages, storms and flooding
- Mold & Moisture
- Chainsaw Safety
- How to Prepare for a Winter Storm from FEMA
- National Weather Service - Winter Weather
- Ready.gov Winter Storms & Extreme Cold