When CAUGHT in a Winter Storm...

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A winter storm has many different ways of causing death to those who are unprepared. Be mindful of these suggestions if you are ever caught in a storm.

OUTSIDE

Find shelter:

  • try to stay dry
  • cover all exposed parts of the body.

No shelter:

  • prepare a lean-to, wind-break, or snow cave for protection from the wind.
  • build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
  • place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.

Do not eat snow: It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.

IN A CAR OR TRUCK

Stay in your car or truck. Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold.
Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat:

  • open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.

Make yourself visible to rescuers:

  • turn on the dome light at night when running engine.
  • tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.
  • raise the hood indicating trouble after snow stops falling.

Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers, and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

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AT HOME OR IN A BUILDING

Stay inside. When using ALTERNATIVE HEAT from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.:

  • use fire safeguards.
  • properly ventilate.

No heat:

  • close off unneeded rooms.
  • stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
  • cover windows at night.

Eat and drink. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration, and subsequent chill.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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