Winter Preparedness –Are you Ready?

Syracuse City Disaster Preparedness Committee


Nearly every winter, without fail, we bear witness to the stories reported by news anchors about power grids going down in the United States due to extreme cold, ice, and snow. Utah is no stranger to such power outages.

In early March 2022, a snowstorm swept through the greater Salt Lake area, knocking out power to over 30,000 homes; in 2021 Rocky Mountain Power reported more than a dozen winter weather-caused power outages resulting in a loss of power for a period of three hours or longer. Although our power company does its absolute best, they are no match for Mother Nature.

If Utah were to face an extreme power outage that resulted in a state of emergency, nearly every city has a disaster-preparedness committee that would be activated to begin providing aid and emergency services as quickly as possible. However, while citizens are waiting on that aid and battling the cold, there are many things an individual can do to keep themselves safe and as warm as possible:

● Be sure to dress for the cold; multiple layers are ideal than just one layer of heavy clothing. Removing or adding layers based on the individual level of comfort is important as too much body heat will cause sweating. When exposed to cold, perspiration will rapidly evaporate, chilling you. You want to limit perspiration and keep it away from both your skin and the outside air.
● Cap your cranium! A massive amount of heat is released through an individual’s head, a beanie or wool cap will keep a lot of heat and energy in your body.
● Dehydration can happen rapidly, so be sure to continually drink water, even in freezing temperatures.
● Stay inside and keep all doors and windows closed. If you have available blankets or sheets not being used, use them to cover any windows or doors where heat may be escaping.
● If the cold becomes too unbearable, sharing body heat with those around you is also one of the best ways to continue to stay warm.

As we continue through the winter, here are some things you can do and items that each household can add to their emergency supplies that will no doubt be useful should a power-disabling winter storm make its way throughout our state:

● Ensure all the weather stripping around windows and doors is solid and there are no leaks. Weatherstripping is an extremely effective way to seal up your home to keep warm air in and cold air out as long as possible.
● Make sure you always have a well-stocked winter home emergency supply kit that includes flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, a phone power bank or car charger, a first aid kit, bottled water, nonperishable food, and a manual can opener. Do not keep batteries in electronics, but do occasionally check them for proper working order.
● Single-use or battery-operated hand warmers are a great item to stock as they can be used for hours as a small heat source and multiple can be used at once.
● As resources may be cut off for some time, emergency heating equipment is a big bonus. A propane heater can be used in well-ventilated areas but is not ideal for closed spaces and is a potential fire hazard, so it must be used with extreme caution.
● If your home is equipped with a wood fireplace, ensure you have enough burnable wood stacked and covered to keep it dry and useable.

If you would like more information pertaining to the Syracuse Disaster Preparedness Committee, please contact Duane Cheney at

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