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Contact: Kristin Devoe
Director of Public Information
October 31, 2016

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Reminds New Yorkers to Prepare as Part of Winter Weather Awareness Week

Annual campaign to encourage winter preparedness before the season starts, runs October 30-November 5

With last week’s periods of snow and mixed precipitation throughout upstate New York serving as a reminder that winter isn’t far behind, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) today encouraged New Yorkers to start taking steps to prepare for harsh winter weather. October 30-November 5 will mark Winter Weather Awareness Week in New York and DHSES says now is the time to ensure that your family, business and vehicles are prepared to handle winter weather.

“Before winter gets into full swing, please begin preparing your home, office and vehicles for winter’s unpredictable weather, said DHSES Commissioner John P. Melville. “As we all know, inclement winter weather can pose an extreme danger to you, your family and your co-workers so begin to take steps to ensure your safety, and theirs, this winter. A good place to start is by subscribing to NY-ALERT, the State’s free alert and notification system.”

"Every year, parts of New York State are affected by severe winter weather,” said Steve DiRienzo, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Albany. “For example, despite a near record warm winter last year across the state, there was still a blizzard in New York City and a number of lake effect snow storms in January, and record cold Valentine's Day weekend."

DHSES offers New Yorkers a number of winter safety tips to help them prepare for the cold and snow. These tips, and other helpful information, appear on www.dhses.ny.gov.

Individuals can begin by ensuring that they have an emergency supply kit on hand at home. Typical emergency supply kits contain items such as flashlights with extra batteries, a seven to ten day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day), a seven to ten day supply of non-perishable foods, a week’s supply of prescription medicines, and other essential items.

For additional information on how to prepare for any type of disaster, individuals can also attend a Citizen Preparedness Corps training event. Trainings are led by the New York National Guard, working with experts from the DHSES Office of Emergency Management and Office of Fire Prevention and Control, along with American Red Cross volunteers.

Winterizing your home or office is another important step to take before winter arrives. For example, have your heating system checked by a professional and make sure you have recently replaced the batteries in smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors. The Office of Fire Prevention and Control offers a full list of home safety tips. Other ways to winterize your home include:

  • Clean your fireplace or stove if you heat with wood. Have your chimney flue checked for any buildup of creosote and then cleaned to lessen the risk of fire.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated. If necessary, insulate walls and attic. This will help you to conserve energy and reduce your homes power demands for heat.
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside. This will provide an extra layer of insulation, keeping more cold air out.
  • Inspect and flush your water heater.
  • Clean gutters. Leaves and other debris will hamper drainage.
  • Locate and insulate pipes most susceptible to freezing, typically those near outer walls, in crawl spaces or in the attic.
  • Wrap pipes with UL approved heat tape.
  • Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.

Now is also the time to also make sure you winterize your vehicles for the upcoming season. Make an appointment with your mechanic to have your vehicle’s battery, antifreeze, tires and other essential parts inspected to ensure your vehicle is in good working order. Also remember that the leading cause of death and injury during winter storms is from transportation accidents. 

  • Before getting on the road, clear your vehicle of ice and snow. Good vision is a key to good driving.
  • Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert.
  • Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions


The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and its four offices -- Counter Terrorism, Emergency Management, Fire Prevention and Control, and Interoperable and Emergency Communications -- provide leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit their Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.


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