Waukesha County

Cold Weather (Winter Storms)

For road condition information call 511 Wisconsin at 511 or (866) 511-9472. You can also check online at 511 Wisconsin.

Red Cross Ready for Winter Storm Safety

Ready Wisconsin on Winter Storms

Various steps and precautions can be taken to ensure your safety and health during a winter storm.

Safety Precautions

  • Listen to the radio or television for weather reports and emergency information.
  • Dress for the season. Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight and warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water-repellent. Mittens are generally warmer than gloves. Wear a hat. Most body heat is lost through the top of the head. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from the cold air.
  • Be careful when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack, a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, do some stretch exercises before going out and don't overexert yourself. Push the snow, don't lift it. Stop and take breaks often, and avoid dehydration by drinking nonalcoholic and caffeine free beverages during breaks.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite: a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, earlobes, or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get medical help immediately.
  • In anticipation of a winter storm and possible power loss, check battery-powered equipment such as a portable radio or television. Have a flashlight and extra batteries in a location where you can find them easily, even in the dark. Keep a supply of drinking water, food which doesn’t require cooking or refrigeration, and a non-electric can opener available also.

Carbon Monoxide Concerns

Carbon Monoxide poisoning often results from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers or cars left running in garages. Symptoms of poisoning can include headache, nausea and drowsiness, while exposure to high levels can be fatal. Stay safe by taking the following precautions:

  • Choose a CO alarm from a recognized testing laboratory and follow the manufacturer's instructions for placement and mounting. Test these alarms at least once a month.
  • Have fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, coal stoves, space heaters and portable heaters) and chimneys inspected by a professional every year.
  • Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace.
  • Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.
  • Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or an unventilated garage. Carbon monoxide gas buildup might kill people and pets.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice or other materials.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.

Preparing Your Car for Winter

Making sure your vehicle is in good operating condition in the winter season can keep you and your family safer while traveling. Some of the items in your car to be checked include:

  • Antifreeze
  • Battery
  • Lights
  • Tire Tread
  • Windshield Wipers and Washer Fluid
  • Heater and Defroster
  • Winter Oil
  • Exhaust System

During the winter season, remember to:

  • Maintain a half tank of gasoline.
  • Plan long trips carefully. Try not to travel alone. If you must travel alone, notify someone else of your route and your estimated departure and arival times.
  • Call 511 or (866) 511-9472 for Wisconsin Road Conditions.
  • Assemble a winter storm car kit. Minimum items should include:
    • window scraper
    • flashlight
    • blankets
    • water
    • jumper cables
    • shovel and small bag of sand or kitty litter
    • first aid kit
  • Additional items for a long trip could include:
    • extra warm clothing
    • high energy non-perishable food
    • signal flares
    • basic repair tools
    • a distress flag
    • facial tissue or paper towels
    • matches and candles