By Mike Coviello (Tanner)

Winter Storm & Extreme Cold Preparations

Everything you need to prepare for winter storms & extreme cold including a checklist, equipment and supplies. Knowing how to prepare for winter storms & extreme cold can save your life.



TannerTanner: Former aerospace engineer who specialized in hypergolic propellants. Hobbies include shooting zombies & reloading ammo.







How To Prepare For Winter Storms & Extreme Cold Weather

Winter storms can get cold. Very cold. They can last a few hours or several days. Extremely low temperatures, strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain are associated with winter storms.




Knowing how to prepare for winter storms & extreme cold and taking all the right precautions to protect yourself and you loved ones can give you peace of mind. You should plan and make preparations well in advance of the winter storm/extreme cold.


Dangers From Winter Storm & Extreme Cold

  1. Loss of heat, power and communications for a few hours or several days.
  2. Freezing cold temperatures.
  3. Snow and ice.
  4. Traffic accidents caused by snow or icy roads.
  5. Hypothermia from exposure to cold.
  6. Damage to pipes and equipment from freezing.


Equipment & Supplies

Buy these items well before the winter storm/extreme cold arrives. 

  1. Emergency power generator (Emergency Generators )
  2. Survival kit/ bug out bags (Executive 72-hour Kit with Solar Upgrade)
  3. Food (MRE's)
  4. Water (Water Filters, Purifiers and Storage)
  5. Emergency lights (Emergency Lighting)
  6. Emergency radio (Emergency Radios)
  7. Two large coolers: One for drinks & one for food
  8. Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your electronics.(UPS)


Emergency Kits

Make, stock up or verify the fully stocked status of each of your emergency kits.

  1. Car back pack, car first aid kit (first aid kit ), auto tool kit (tool kit ) and car contents.
  2. Emergency evacuation backpack
  3. Food emergency kit
  4. Dog/pet emergency kit
  5. Winter Storm & Extreme Cold emergency Kit - (72-hour Survival Kits) Make sure your winter storm/extreme cold kit includes: Flashlights & extra bulbs, Battery-operated radio, Battery-operated lanterns, Batteries (in different sizes!), Matches, First aid kit, Duct tape, Rain gear, Clock (wind-up or battery-powered), Plastic garbage bags, Fire extinguisher, Scissors, Can Opener, Clean clothes, Extra blankets, Heavy gloves.



Winter Storm Planning

  1. Make winter storms & extreme cold plan. Know when and what you are going to do in advance of an oncoming winter storm/extreme cold.

  2. Make a family communications plan.

  3. Have a home inspection performed on you house to identify weakness and deficiencies in your house.

  4. Investigate whether to replace your existing windows with double pane or better insulated windows.

  5. Make sure each member of your family knows what to do no matter where they are when an winter storm/extreme cold occurs.

  6. Transportation may be disrupted after an winter storm/extreme cold, keep emergency supplies (food, liquids, comfortable shoes) at work, in your car and at home.

  7. Make sure all family members know where your gas, electric and water main shutoff valves are and how to turn them off.

  8. Identify your closest fire and police stations and emergency medical facility.

  9. Coordinate your emergency winter storm/extreme cold plans with your neighbors.

  10. TAKE Red Cross First Aid and CPR Training Course.

  11. Train everyone in the house in the proper operation of fire extinguishers.

  12. Make sure everyone in the house knows where the water shut off valves are and how to turn them off (in case a pipe bursts).

  13. Inspect the roof for needed repairs. A strong roof is needed to support the weight of accumulated snow.
    Verify gutters and drains are clean and functional.


Prepare Your House For Winter

  1. Inspect your roof for strength, integrity and loose shingles. Repair as needed.
  2. Clean your rain gutters and downspouts.
  3. Install an emergency power generator. Test it to make sure it works. Get plenty of fuel.
  4. Perform any needed weatherproofing or repairs to home, yard area and fence.
  5. Have basic repair and clean up materials handy (plastic sheeting, nails, duct tape, hammer, shovel, chainsaw, etc.).
  6. Stock up on sand, rock salt and products to melt ice on walkways.
  7. Make sure you have snow shovels, ice choppers and snow blowers.
  8. Top off your heating fuel supply.
  9. If you have a fireplace or a wood burning stove, stock up on wood.
  10. Get warm clothing and blankets.
  11. Listen to the weather forecast.
  12. Limit your travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  13. Bring pets indoors.
  14. Add more insulation to your home.
  15. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  16. Install storm windows.
  17. Cover windows with plastic.
  18. Clean and inspect heating equipment and chimneys.
  19. Insulate pipes to prevent freezing.


Prepare Your Car For Winter

  1. Perform maintenance on your car to make sure it's "ready to go" in case you have to evacuate. Install snow tires, check tire pressure, battery, oil level (replace with "cold weather" oil), radiator level, Test the defroster and heater, washer level. Verify car running condition.
  2. Fill your tank up with gas.
  3. Get spare gas cans and fill them up in case of gas shortage after the winter storm/extreme cold.
  4. Park your car in the garage, sheltered location or the most protected area possible.
  5. Verify car contents. Fully equip your car. See What Should I Keep In My Car?
  6. Update the emergency kits in your vehicles to include snow chains, shovel, windshield scraper and small broom, matches, extra hats, socks and mittens, blanket(s), tow chain or rope, road salt and sand, booster cables.


Important Documents

Update important documents and place in a portable and waterproof container. As backup, scan and save your documents on a flash drive, website other secure storage system and store in a safe location. Update or take new pictures of yard, house, house contents and car contents and backup computer files. Email important documents to self or a friend.

  1. Photo copies of prescriptions
  2. Emergency preparedness manual
  3. Photo identification
  4. Proof of occupancy of residence (utility bills)
  5. Medical history or information
  6. Waterproof container for document storage
  7. Back-up disks of your home computer files
  8. Camera & film & spare batteries for camera
  9. Insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, copy of will, family records
  10. Important telephone numbers and contact information
  11. Inventory, pictures and receipts of valuable household goods


Before Winter

  1. Double check your emergency kits and supplies (food, water, flashlights, weather radio, batteries, etc.)
  2. Identify battery powered appliances and tools and stock up on all applicable batteries. Fully charge all chargeable batteries (Solar Battery Charger)
  3. Get extra cash. Get small bills, ones, 5's, 10's, 20's and 50's at the bank.
  4. Plan for your pets.
  5. Monitor emergency broadcasts and be ready to evacuate.
  6. Call family and friends to notify of intentions.
  7. Verify supply of tape/tapes
  8. Verify supply of tarps and roofing nails for repairs.
  9. Extra supply of medicines for each family member (and pets)


During The Winter Storm & Extreme Cold

  1. Stay indoors at all times during the winter storm/extreme cold.
  2. Keep curtains and blinds closed to keep the heat in.
  3. Watch TV or listen to the radio for winter storm/extreme cold updates.
  4. Avoid slipping on snowy and icy walkways.
  5. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  6. Keep dry and warm.
  7. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  8. Limit driving. If you have to travel tell someone where you are going and stay in touch.
  9. Follow all safety rules when using portable heating devices.