Winter Preparedness

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Preparedness is key to staying safe and healthy this winter. Check out the tips below for preparing your vehicle and home, and how to handle snowstorms before and after they come your way. You can also find helpful information on what to include in your vehicle survival kit and home supply kit.

  1. Vehicle Preparedness
  2. Home Preparedness
  3. During Snowstorms
  4. After Snowstorms
  • Winterize your car, including a battery check, antifreeze, oil level and tires. Check the thermostat, ignition system, lights, hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, defroster and brakes. Snow tires are recommended, and chains may be required in certain conditions — especially in the mountains. Always keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Snowy or icy roads cause hazardous driving conditions. Before the first big storm, check your tires for tread, change your tires to snow tires or make certain you have chains in your vehicle.
  • If you are stuck in your car, run the motor for 10 minutes each hour for heat. Make sure that your tailpipe is clear of snow. Make yourself visible to rescuers by turning on the dome light at night when running the engine, or by tying a brightly colored cloth to your antenna.
  • Remember, 4-wheel drive does not mean your vehicle will not slide. Use caution and drive at slower speeds when roads are snow-packed and/or icy.
  • If you do get stranded, do not leave your vehicle. Call 911 for assistance. Having some cat litter to put at the base of your tires may help you regain traction to get back on the road.
  • For road conditions, call (303) 639-1111 or visit COTrip [external link].

Winter Vehicle Survival Kit

Here's what you need:
  • a shovel
  • battery powered radio
  • blankets and/or sleeping bag (non-cotton if possible)
  • booster cables
  • cell phone adapter to plug into lighter
  • emergency flares and reflectors
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • fire extinguisher
  • first aid kit with pocket knife
  • flashlight with extra batteries (some flashlights use body heat to light up)
  • fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
  • hand/feet warmers
  • matches and small candles
  • necessary medications
  • pen, sharpie marker and letter size paper-to write emergency messages
  • road salt, sand or cat litter for traction
  • snack food and energy bars (preferably ones that don’t freeze - Lara Bars is one example)
  • tow chain and/or rope
  • water
  • windshield scraper and small broom

Disaster Home Supply Kit

Here is a sample list of items to consider placing in your kit:
  • address and phone numbers
  • aluminum foil
  • baby supplies
  • batteries for hearing aids
  • battery information for wheelchairs
  • battery-powered radio
  • disinfectant
  • emergency candles
  • extra clothing
  • extra eyeglasses/contact lenses
  • flashlight
  • list of medications and essential medications
  • manual can opener
  • non-perishable food (energy bars, canned meats, juice, fruits and vegetables, powdered milk, infant foods, crackers, peanut butter, freeze-dried and dehydrated goods)
  • paper/plastic cups, plates and utensils as well as paper towels
  • pen and paper
  • personal toiletries
  • plastic bags and ties
  • plastic bucket with tight lid (make-shift toilet)
  • rope or cord
  • sleeping bags and blankets (wool or thermal)
  • small cooler and ice packs for medications
  • soap
  • supplies for service animals (license, vaccinations, certificate and food)
  • toilet paper
  • utility knife and basic tools
  • water (one gallon/person/day)
  • water purification tablets
  • waterproof matches
  • work gloves