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Snohomish County agencies urge residents to prepare for cold weather

Quick tips to keep you safe and healthy this winter

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Get Frosty’s wardrobe ready because snowflakes are in the forecast. The Snohomish Health District, Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, and Medical Reserve Corps have teamed up to provide one place for weather-related preparedness information.

The newly launched site provides information on cold weather shelters around the county, as well as other resources for flooding, power outages, and emergency preparedness. To help you and your loved ones get ready for the winter weather ahead, here are a few tips to get you started:

Create an emergency kit and a plan.

  • Have adequate clothing and extra blankets to keep you warm, and work to increase your emergency supplies to include 10-14 days of non-perishable food and water per person.
  • Know where fire extinguishers are located, and be sure everyone in your family understands how to use one.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.
  • Design a plan that includes what to do in case of an emergency, how to contact family members and get back together if separated during an emergency. You can find an emergency plan checklist at

Winterize your car.

  • Check your antifreeze, oil and brake fluid levels, windshield wipers, lights and flashing hazard lights, as well as your heater and defroster to be sure they are all working properly.
  • Examine your tires and be sure that chains or snow tires are accessible if needed.
  • Have your exhaust system inspected to ensure there are no leaks to keep you safe from carbon monoxide.
  • Have emergency supplies in your car like a first aid kit, blankets, water and roadside flares. 

Winterize your home.

  • Check pipes during freezing temperatures, insulate if necessary, and learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  • Be sure to include ice melting products and sand to improve traction, and have a snow shovel or other removal equipment handy.
  • Store a supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
  • Have your chimney or heating equipment cleaned and inspected.
  • Insulate your home by checking the caulking and weather-stripping around doors, installing storm windows, or cover windows with plastic to keep cold air out.
  • If you are able, clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and trim tree branches.

Stay safe during snowstorms and extreme cold.

  • Stay indoors during storms, and use care walking on snowy, icy walkways afterward.
  • Be sure to change your wet clothes frequently, and learn what frostbite and hypothermia signs to look for at
  • If you have to drive during winter weather, keep others informed of your schedule, stay on main roads, and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning deaths are the highest during colder months. Never use gas ovens, gas ranges, barbecues, or portable or propane heaters for indoor heating. 

Don’t forget pets.

  • Bring your pets and companion animals inside during winter weather. Exposed skin on noses, ears, and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.
  • Give your pets plenty of food and water.
  • Try to protect paws from salt when taking dogs on walks.
  • Make sure other animals and livestock have sheltered areas with access to non-frozen drinking water.

By taking proper precautions, you won’t be caught off-guard when the weather outside is frightful. As a reminder, there are a number of cold weather shelters that typically open up around Snohomish County when the temperature nears freezing. For the current list of shelters and their contact information, visit For more information on personal preparedness, please visit