Winter Weather Checklists - MetroFamily Magazine
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Winter Weather Checklists

by Oklahoma State Department of Health

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

The forecast suggests Christmas may bring a major snow event to parts of Oklahoma. While taking care of last-minute holiday planning,  the Oklahoma State Department of Health suggests you stock up on emergency supplies in case Oklahoma does have a “White Christmas.”

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).
  • 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, Safety and Lighting Checklist

Have a week’s worth of food and safety 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.)
  • Never use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stove indoors—the fumes are deadly.

Water Checklist

Keep a water supply at the ready in case pipes freeze.

  • 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.

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 and 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)

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