Governor Wolf Provides Pennsylvanians Tips for Preparing for Winter Weather

December 09, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – As winter weather approaches, Governor Wolf urged Pennsylvanians to be prepared for cold weather and snowstorms.

“As Governor, my top priority is the safety and well-being of all Pennsylvania citizens,” said Governor Wolf. “As winter weather approaches, I urge everyone to take the necessary precautions to ensure that you and your family, friends, and neighbors are fully prepared for severe cold and snow storms.”

State agencies offered the following tips to help Pennsylvanians prepare for winter weather:

Preparing for a Winter Emergency
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) offers many tips for Pennsylvanians on how best to handle a winter storm. Being prepared for a major winter storm can save your family both money and heartache. Here are some tips on how you can prepare:

  • 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.

Staying Healthy This Winter

The Department of Health provides resources and information to keep your loved ones healthy during potentially dangerous winter weather:

  • 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.

Traveling Safely in Winter Weather

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recommends motorists avoid traveling during winter storms if possible, but motorists who must be on the road are urged to use caution while driving.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting Learn more tips from PennDOT on winter operations and safety here.

When traveling in winter weather PennDOT advises:

  • 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.

Preparing Your Home for Cold Weather
The Department of Environmental protection encourages Pennsylvanians to stay safe and warm this winter by properly preparing their homes. Home winterization can help keep your home warmer, while using less energy and costing less money:

  • The most cost-effective way to save energy in the home is to air seal and insulate:
    • Be sure to air seal before insulating as insulation material will not block leaks.
    • Find and seal air leaks with caulk around windows, doors, gaps around chimneys, and recessed lights in insulated ceilings.
  • Consider these tips this winter to keep your home running efficiently:
  • If you have a furnace, have it checked by a heating professional. This will make the unit more efficient, and provide peace of mind that it is running safely. A heating professional should check the exhaust flue and venting to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure to replace the air filter as directed to keep the air in your home clean and the unit running well. A properly maintained furnace can result in a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumed.
  • Set back the thermostat when you’re not at home; each degree lowered can save up to 3 percent on heating.
  • Weather-strip windows and exterior doors where you can feel air leaking.
  • Use the sunlight to heat your home by opening the curtains on south-facing windows during sunny days and close all curtains at night.
  • Do not heat unused spaces, other than as needed to prevent freezing of pipes. Close vents in unused rooms.

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