Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) released a winter weather checklist to help with the preparations of the upcoming snow storms. The checklist includes stock supplies for cooking and lighting, food and safety, water, traveling, communication and heating.

Cooking and Lighting

  • Battery-powered flashlights and lanterns with extra batteries are safe items to use when lighting a home during power outages.
  • Due to deadly fumes, do not use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stoves indoors.
  • If possible, avoid lighting candles. Lit candles often lead to house fires. If candles are used, make sure to extinguish the flame if you plan to leave the home.

Food and Safety

EMSA suggests stocking one week of food, safety, and medical supplies. Suggested items include:

  • Drinking water
  • Canned food or items that do not require cooking
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Food and formula for infants, if present in the household
  • Prescription drugs, first-aid kit and other medicine
  • Rock salt for icy walkways and cat litter or sand for additional traction


  • To keep water pipes from freezing, let the water tap drip continuously, keep the inside temperature warm and open cabinet doors near sinks open.
  • In the event your water pipes freeze, thaw pipes with warm air using a hair dryer. If pipes break or cannot be thawed, use bottled water or borrow from a neighbor.
  • If no water is available, boil snow for one minute to kill most germs. Take note, this will not rid the water of chemicals sometimes found in snow.


If travel is necessary, pack the following emergency items to take in the vehicle:

  • Charged cell phone and portable charger
  • Windshield scraper, shovel, chains, tire chains, rope, booster cables, road salt
  • Battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries
  • Water, snack food, paper towels
  • Extra coats, hats, scarves, gloves and blankets
  • Tool kit, canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair sand
  • Emergency flares and a bright colored flag or help signs
  • First aid kit, waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water
  • Road maps and compass


  • In the event of a power outage, make sure cell phones are charged and a portable charge and extra batteries are stocked.
  • A great way to stay informed during weather and local emergencies is through a battery-powered radio. Remember to stock extra batteries.
  • Communities use multiple communication outlets to warn the public during severe weather. Common outlets include sirens, radio, TV and local public health and emergency management web sites.
  • Develop a communication plan for your family. When a weather emergency occurs, family members are not always together. It is important to make a plan, so each family member knows how to contact each other, how to get back together, and what to do.
  • Remember to check on older family members and neighbors and provide assistance, if needed.


When extreme winter weather temperatures make it difficult to heat a home or when a power outage occurs, there are several do's and don'ts to staying warm.

Have at least one of the following as a backup heat source:

  • Extra blankets, sleeping bags, and coats
  • Fireplace with extra dry firewood or a gas log fireplace
  • Electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements
  • Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters. Contact the local fire department to learn if kerosene heaters are legal in your community.

Here is a list of don'ts when it comes to heating your home:

  • Never use the stove for heat
  • Do not put heat sources on top of furniture or near water; keep at least three feet away
  • Children should not be left unattended near heat sources

It is suggested to stock the following safety equipment:

  • Chemical fire extinguisher
  • Working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector

Other tips:

  • Do no use electric generators indoors, inside the garage, or near the home's air intake. This puts the home at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If generator or appliances become wet, do not use them.
  • Gasoline can ignite fumes, so it is best to store outdoors.
  • To plug in other appliances, use individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords.