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Cold Weather Ahead Road Warning Sign

5 Tips to Help You Prep for Winter Weather

When winter weather strikes, will you be ready? The following are some helpful tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.

#1 – Have an emergency plan in place.

Pay close attention to winter weather advisories, warning and watches – and take it seriously. Often, winter weather brings accidental falls and power outages, so be sure to have plenty of non-perishable food and water on hand as well as an alternate heat source and/or power supply.

#2 – Stock up on emergency supplies, including food.

Always be sure to stock up on non-perishable food items, water, pet food and disposable plates/utensils, etc. You should have enough emergency food and supplies to last at least 3 to 4 days without power or help.

Read more about Food Storage Tips and No Cook Meals here.

You should also plan to have an emergency kit handy.

Emergency supplies should include items such as:

  • First aid kit
  • Family/emergency contact information (written down)
  • Prescription medications/medical supplies (at least enough for 3-4 days)
  • Batteries
  • Battery powered-radio
  • Cell phone (fully charged) + Cell phone charger
  • Cold weather clothing + extra blankets


#3 – Be prepared for possible power outages.

During winter weather it is not uncommon to have the electricity go out. Power outages are particularly concerning for the elderly as well as those who have medical issues that require the use of electricity CPAP machines, oxygen tanks, and prescription medication that requires refrigeration).

If you or someone you know has an electronic medical device or prescription medication that requires refrigeration, make sure you have an emergency plan. Start by testing your medical device to ensure that it can function in the event of sudden power loss. Make a list of any other necessary supplies you may need, and speak to your provider to help you create or modify your emergency plan.

#4 – Beware of hidden hazards.

Between sleigh riding, ice skating, and icy roadways/walkways – winter is a ripe time for injuries. Prevent injury by wearing appropriate shoes, using handrails when available and removing wet shoes when stepping inside to prevent falls.

Read our Tips for Preventing Falls in Winter.

Also beware of extremely low temperatures. This is especially true when caring for elderly loved ones. If you have older neighbors, be sure to check in on them to make sure that they are safe.


#5 – Drive safely.

Winter happens every year in North Carolina. Therefore, it’s important to winterize your vehicle ahead of time. This includes checking things such as:

  • Antifreeze and other fluid levels
  • Regular oil changes
  • Tires/spare tires for proper inflation and tire tread
  • Keep your gas tank full (to avoid freezing water in the fuel line)
  • Make sure your battery is in good working order

If you find yourself on the road during winter weather, be sure to always have an vehicle emergency kit. The size and contents of your emergency kit may vary, but it should include most standard first-aid items.

It may also be helpful to keep a small backpack with emergency items and supplies in case you have to abandon your vehicle. In the backpack can be things such as gloves, an extra blanket, socks, bottled water, non-perishable snacks, etc.

Be sure to always clear any and all snow or ice off of your vehicle’s roof and windows. This will allow you greater visibility, and it will prevent debris from blowing off of your roof into the path of drivers behind you.


WakeMed Emergency Departments Are Open 24/7

Remember, WakeMed emergency departments are always open – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Not sure if it’s worth a trip to the ER? View these helpful tips on when to visit the emergency department. For less serious or orthopaedic-related injuries, we also offer orthopaedic urgent care.

Stay Updated on Closings/Delays & Emergency Information

Are you a WakeMed employee? Stay up-to-date with the latest inclement weather and emergency information here.

Planning on visiting one of the WakeMed facilities? Check the latest closings and delays here.

Other Helpful Resources