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5 Winter Weather Tips to Keep You Safe

Winter weather is here and with it comes some hazards that can cause potential safety hazards.. The following are some tips to help keep you and your family safe.

#1 – Prevent falls.

Reduce your risk of falling by:

  • wearing proper footwear with good traction
  • taking slower, smaller steps
  • holding onto railings
  • protecting your head, neck, spine if you do trip/fall

#2 – Have an emergency plan.

Pay close attention to winter weather advisories, warning and watches – and take it seriously. Because winter weather often brings power outages, it’s important to have plenty of water and non-perishable food on hand.  You should have enough emergency food and supplies to last at least 3 to 4 days without power or help.

You will also want to dress in layers and/or have an alternate heat source and/or power supply in the event of a power outage.

#3 – 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


#4 – 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.

#5 – Know the difference between hypothermia and frostbite.


Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Lengthy exposure to cold temperatures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature. This can affect your brain and your ability to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia especially dangerous, because you may not know it’s happening and won’t be able to do anything about it.


Frostbite is a bodily injury caused by freezing that causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation.

Learn how to prevent hypothermia and frostbite here.


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.