24 Tips to Stay Safe and Healthy this Winter

By: Beth Melena, Deputy Press Secretary

December 16, 2016

As temperatures drop and snow starts to fall, the Wolf Administration wants to make sure all Pennsylvanians are safe and healthy. State agencies have developed the following 24 tips for a successful winter season:

For Your Health

To stay healthy this winter:

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Stay warm. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outdoors, can cause serious or life-threatening health problems such as frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Check on infants and older Pennsylvanians frequently, as they are at greater risk of developing serious cold-related health problems.
  • If you are going outdoors, be sure to cover all exposed skin with hats, scarves, gloves, etc.
  • Prevent snow removal injuries, and if you or your loved ones have chest pain, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of a heart attack while shoveling snow, call 911 immediately.
  • When possible, push snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, bend your legs and not your back. Also avoid twisting motions that can stress your back.
  • Follow all safety instructions when using a snow blower.
  • Never use an electric generator, camp stove, or similar device indoors, near windows, or vents since they produce carbon monoxide – an odorless, colorless gas that builds up in closed spaces and is deadly.

On the Road

When traveling in winter weather:

  • Get the most current and relevant Pennsylvania traffic information on your smart phone by downloading the 511PA mobile app here.
  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Stay alert, keep looking as far ahead as possible and be patient.
  • Reduce in-car distractions since your full attention is required.
  • Use defroster and wipers.
  • Keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice.
  • During whiteouts, come to a complete stop only when you can safely get as far off the road as possible or when there is a safe area to do so.
  • Do not stop in the flow of traffic since this could create a chain-reaction collision.
  • Do not pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely.
  • Always buckle up and never drink and drive.

In Case of Emergency

To be prepared for an emergency you should:

  • Always keep at least three days’ worth of water and non-perishable food in your home for your family, including pets. Keep in mind any special dietary needs, such as infant formula or baby food.
  • Double-check your family’s emergency supply kit before winter approaches and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather: rock salt to melt ice on walkways, sand to improve traction, snow shovels and other snow removal equipment, portable or hand-cranked cellphone charger, battery-operated or hand-crank lights and radios in the event power goes out, and adequate clothing and blankets to keep you and your family warm.
  • Make an emergency plan for your family, and review it with all family members.


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