Before leaving your home, check the weather forecast available through radio, television and social media broadcasts. Listen to wind chill warnings and use the information to draw actionable prepping plans, as appropriate.
Arrange for a home energy audit with a professional who can tune up your home's heating system. Confirm air leaks throughout your home or uncover any issues or problems, such as around attic hatches or roof eaves, ceiling lights, doors, electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, windows and so on.
Consider a secondary source of heat that isn't power-dependent in case of outages, like a fireplace (which you can also use for cooking during power outages) or buy a solar-powered generator. If you have a wood-burning stove, make sure it is properly vented to the outside.
Get your chimney or flue inspected to help prevent chimney fires.
Get into the habit of regularly checking and replacing batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Insulate your attic, walls and any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply is less likely to freeze.
Clean your gutters, downspouts and exterior drainage systems so they drain properly. Doing so could also help you avoid issues with ice buildup or water overflow in case of a winter storm.
Think prevention and stay warm – from your head to your toes.
Dress appropriately to reduce the risk of extreme cold temperature-related health challenges – from asthma attacks, the common cold, flu, sore throat and strep throat to more serious health issues, such as chilblains, frostbite, frostnip, hypothermia, pneumonia or trench foot, among others.
Check out these tips on how to dress and stay warm during winter from the American Academy of Dermatology Association.
Prepare to be snowed in
Consider the following when making an emergency plan for you and your family:
Medicine and medical supplies/equipment - Take time to review your medical kits. Check the expiration dates of your over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and get rid of anything that's expired. Restock on homemade salves and tinctures made from essential oils, natural or OTC cough calmers, nasal sprays, pain relievers, sore throat soothers and so on.
Sanitation needs. Keep an emergency water supply (e.g., in your bathtub) for flushing or start learning about DIY emergency use bucket toilets. You can invest in waterless toilets like the ones sold in camping or boating stores. Learn more about how you can handle survival sanitation during a crisis.
Especially during winter, try these outdoor activities to boost your immune system: brisk walking or hiking, ice-skating, jogging or running, raking leaves, shoveling snow, sledding, snowshoeing and so on.
"Winterize" your car
Experts say no special steps are needed to winterize a vehicle if it's driven almost daily or if you live in a state that enjoys perpetual summertime weather. Nevertheless, learn how to prepare your vehicle for winter driving for you and your family's safety.