Beyond following the forecast and keeping up on school closings, check up on what do you need to do to protect your home and your family when severe weather hits. Below are some preparedness tips everyone should know:

Stay Informed

You always want to stay ahead of the storm when it comes to information.

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Reporting Power Outages

Click on the links below for information from utilities in your area.

New York:

New Jersey:

Connecticut:

Before The Storm

  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing that will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater.
  • Be prepared to evacuate if you lose power or heat and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.
  • Bring your companion animals inside and ensure that your horses and livestock have blankets if appropriate and unimpeded access to shelter, food, and non-frozen water.

Protect Your Family

Every family should have an emergency supply kit ready to go in case disaster strikes. The Red Cross says there are several essential items that should be included in any emergency supply kit.

  • Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Drink fluids suhc as warm broth or juice to prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia. Alcohol, such as brandy, is a depressant and hastens the effects of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration.
  • Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications and medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
  • Be sure you have ample heating fuel.
  • If you have alternative heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood- or coal-burning stoves, or space heaters, be sure they are clean and in working order.
  • Check that your fire extinguisher(s) is in good working order, and replace it if necessary.

General Emergency Supplies

  • Water – At least a three-day supply of one gallon per person, per day.
  • Food – At least a three-day supply of non-perishable, easy to make food.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
  • Extra batteries.
  • Flashlights.
  • First aid kit.
  • Medications – at least a seven-day supply. Your should also include other medical items like hearing aids, glasses, contacts, syringes.
  • Multi-purpose tool.
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items.
  • Cell phone with chargers.
  • Copies of personal documents: passports, birth certificates, etc.
  • Family and emergency contact information.
  • Extra cash.
  • Baby supplies.
  • Pet supplies.
  • A whistle to signal for help.
  • Local maps.

For more information about emergency supply kits, click here.

Code Blue

When cold temperatures reach freezing or lower, wind chill below 0 degrees, or the area is hit by ice storms, freezing rain or more than 6 inches of snow, New York City triggers a “Code Blue” to make sure anyone in need of assistance has the shelter they need.

According to nyc.gov, the following help is made more available for the homeless:

  • Shelters: During a Code Blue, homeless adults can access any shelter location for single individuals.
    Beds are available system-wide to accommodate anyone brought in by outreach teams or walk-ins.
  • Drop-in centers: All drop-in centers are open 24 hours a day when Code Blue procedures are in effect, taking in as many as people as possible for the duration of inclement weather. Drop-in staff also can make arrangements for homeless individuals at other citywide facilities.
  • Safe havens and stabilization beds: Chronically homeless individuals may be transported to these low-threshold housing options, where they may go directly from the street to a bed.
  • New Yorkers should call 911 if they see someone in need of medical assistance, and 311 to have a HOME-STAT outreach team engage a homeless individual about going to a shelter and receiving homelessness services.

Don’t Forget The Pets

If you have pets, don’t leave them out of your emergency plans.

  • Have extra pet food and water on hand plus any necessary medications.
  • Make sure your pets are current on their vaccinations.
  • Have a current photograph in case your pet gets lost.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification and have a leash on hand.
  • Have properly sized pet carriers for each animal.
  • Have a place to take your pet – kennels, veterinary clinics and the homes of friends and relatives are all places you can take your pet in an emergency. Most emergency shelters will not take pets.
  • Find a pet-friendly motel at www.petswelcome.com.

For more information about planning for your pet, click here.

Heading Outside

The Red Cross recommends…

  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air. Avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.
  • Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries.

If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation if possible. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.

Prepping Your Vehicle

The Red Cross recommends the following preparation for your vehicles ahead of the storm:

  • Have your vehicle winterized before the winter storm season to decrease your chance of being stranded in cold weather.
  • Have a mechanic check your battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil.
  • Install good winter tires with adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate but some jurisdictions require vehicles to be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
  • Keep in your vehicle:
    • A windshield scraper and small broom
    • A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats
    • Matches in a waterproof container
    • A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna
    • An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.
  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Keep a supply of non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
  • Service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season and maintain it in good working order.
  • Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for each member of the household.

If Stuck In Your Vehicle

  • Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave unless help is visible within 100 yards.
  • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
  • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm, about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
  • Do light exercises to keep up circulation (clap hands, move arms and legs, avoid staying in one position for too long).

After The Storm

After any severe storm, there could be damage, including flooding, downed trees, power outages, broken glass and more. The Red Cross says there are several things you should do after a winter storm hits.

  • Stay informed – keep watching CBS2 and listening to NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts for the latest updates.
  • Stay away from loose or dangling power lines and report any you may see to local power companies.
  • Inspect your home for damage.
  • Take pictures of the damage for your insurance company.
  • Be careful walking around damaged areas in your home.

Weather Links

Here are some additional weather links to help keep an eye on the storm.

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