Snow sure can look pretty, and provides plenty of opportunities for fun and games. However, snow storms also create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, and/or frostbite. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. Planning and preparing for snow can make a big difference in safety and help ensure you can make the most out of a winter wonderland.
The Middlesex County Office of Health Services would like to encourage everyone to:
- Know what to do before, during, and after a winter storm.
- Listen to local officials.
- Have emergency supplies in place at home, at work, and in the car.
- Stay off the road during and after a winter storm.
- Have a carbon monoxide alarm in place, especially if using alternative heating devices.
- Use safe heating devices.
Know What to Do: The best way to stay safe during a winter storm or extremely cold temperatures is to prepare beforehand. "When the Sky Turns Gray" is a short animated video that demonstrates basic tips for winter storms. The "How to Prepare for a Winter Storm" guide provides information on the basics of how to protect yourself and your property, and what steps to take now.
Listen to Local Officials: From weather alerts to business and road closures, information can be found online, on the radio, and tv. Before and during storms, tune into local networks but make sure it's from a verified source such as your municipality's Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Police or Fire stations as well as County and State officials.
Have Emergency Supplies: It doesn't take much to create a basic emergency preparedness kit. The Preparedness Division here at the Office of Health Services encourages everyone to set aside supplies at home to weather the conditions Mother Nature regularly delivers to us here in Middlesex County such as snow, sleet, high winds, flooding and hurricanes. Another good idea is to keep an extra kit in your car for when you are on the road. Extra road-ready items such as jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, an ice scraper, a car cell phone charger, water, and a blanket or extra set of warm clothes are ideal items for a car kit. Find a more comprehesive list for your car here.
Stay off the Roads: Whenever possible, stay off the roads. Hazardous weather conditions make our already congested roads more difficult to navigate, and ultimately puts you and your passengers at an increased risk of an accident. By staying clear of the roads, you allow transportation authorities and road maintence workers to brine, sand and/or plow - which allows everyone to get on the road again sooner.
Have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm: Don't let carbon monoxide sneak up on you in your efforts to stay warm this winter. Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas emitted from generators, fireplaces, and machines like snow shovels. Stay safe and never use a generator, gasoline or propane heater indoors, and keep these items at least 20 feet away from doors, windows and vents to avoid CO poisoning. Install a CO detector in your home, and learn the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning here.
Use Safe Heating Devices: Space heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces are great ways to make a winter night cozy, but only when used properly and with caution. Always read the safety manuals that come with portable heating devices and make a habit of shutting off devives before going to bed. Learn more winter-related fire safety tips here.
For more information about keeping safe during winter storms and freezing temperatures, visit one of our partners: