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Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather Safety

Link to Spanish version.

Winter in Oklahoma can bring ice and snow storms and extreme cold. Prepare your home in advance of harsh weather so you and your family can ride out the storm in safety.

Before the Storm:

  • Listen to weather forecasts to keep informed about weather conditions and 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; a 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 are present.
  • In case of a power outage, make sure you have at least one battery-powered radio and extra batteries.
  • During a power outage, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns for lighting instead of candles or oil lamps. Have extra batteries on hand.
  • Install smoke alarms and battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors. Test them once a month to make sure they are working correctly.
  • Have a home escape plan in the event of a house fire. Practice it often.
  • Do not use generators, charcoal grills, or camp stoves inside the home, basement, or garage. Keep generators outside and at least 20 feet from windows, doors, or vents.
  • Only use a single outdoor-rated, heavy-duty cord to connect an appliance to a generator.

Heating Safety

  • Have home heating units inspected and serviced and chimneys and flues inspected at least once a year.
  • Make sure the fireplace is properly vented to the outside while in use and use a metal or glass screen across the opening to prevent sparks from reaching carpet or other flammable materials.
  • Only purchase space heaters that have nonglowing elements and will automatically shut off if it gets too hot or is knocked over.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, drapes, and anything else that can ignite.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from heating equipment to avoid contact burns and ignition of clothing, and to prevent the heater from being knocked over.
  • Always turn off portable heaters when leaving a room or going to bed.

Internet Resources

Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised December 2014

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