Are You Ready for Winter?

Snow Days are fun, but are your family, home and vehicles properly prepared for inclement weather?
Hurricane Matthew demonstrated the importance of being prepared for all types of weather and disasters. It’s especially important during the winter to be prepared for prolonged power outages and freezing temperatures. Plan to weather any winter emergencies by preparing now. 

cell phone charging with portable batteryHome Safety

  • First, make sure you have an alternative heat source available in case you lose power. If you have a working fireplace, have it checked by a qualified professional to clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year. Maintain an adequate supply of wood for your fireplace or fuel for your generator or kerosene heater. If you use a generator, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember to place the generator outside in a well-ventilated area. Do not put your generator in the garage or in a closed space.       
  • Charge all your devices (phone, tablets, etc.). Invest in a battery-operated charger and have a car charger that you can use in case you lose power in your home. 
  • Make an emergency supply kit​ that will last at least 72 hours (3-days) and includes: non-perishable foods, lanterns, flashlight, spare batteries, battery-powered radio, first-aid kit, three-gallons of water for each person and extra prescription medications. Create a kit especially for seniors, children, persons with special needs and your pets.       
  • Check on elderly neighbors and relatives. Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to hypothermia — even inside their homes.       
  • Protect your pipes from freezing and bursting. With a little preparation now, you can prevent burst pipes and avoid costly repairs. 
    • ​Insulate any exposed pipes in your home's crawl spaces, attic and outside walls.
    • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside your home near exposed pipes. Disconnect garden hoses and drain outdoor pipes. 
    • Turn the supply valve off and cover the exposed pipe(s) and faucet(s) with insulation.
    • Know where the water turn-off valve is at the street.
  • Keep driveways and sidewalks clear to prevent injuries from falls on slippery surfaces.     ​

Vehicle Safety

  • Winterize your car by having a mechanic check your battery, wipers, fluids (oil, antifreeze and windshield washer cleaner) and thermostat. 
  • Make sure your tires are property inflated and have a good tread for traction to drive in snow. Keep a full tank of gas.  
    • Keep a full tank of gas.
    • ​Keep an emergency supply kit in each of your cars that includes: a shovel, an ice scraper, battery cables, tow chain, bag of sand or kitty litter for traction, blanket, flashlight, first-aid kit, cell phone charger, and some non-perishable food and bottled water.
    • If you get stranded in a snowstorm, stay in your car. Don't seek shelter or a telephone unless you see one nearby. 
    • For heat, turn on the car engine for brief periods, but make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.                         
Have a plan to communicate with members of your family. Create a plan and make sure every family member has a copy and knows what to do.

Stay informed. Keep aware of emergency messaging by local officials posted on,, and VBTV. Also, tune into your local TV and radio stations. 

For more information about winter weather preparedness, visit,​ and              
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