Maryland's Preparedness and Response office shares winter safety tips​

Winter is here and with it come many dangers related to extreme cold and snow. We offer the following tips and links to help you prepare.

Prevent Cold-related Illness

This season, seven people in Maryland already have died as a result of cold-related illnesses. Many more have been affected by these illnesses, which include hypothermia, frostbite, frostnip and trench foot. Most at risk are the elderly, the homeless population and those who use drugs or alcohol. During periods of extreme cold, make sure to dress in warm layers and to limit your time outside. Check on elderly neighbors and friends. Maryland residents in need of housing or energy assistance to keep warm should call 2-1-1 to see if there are resources available to help. Learn more about cold-related illnesses, including prevention and treatment. Download the Cold Weather Health Issues and Concerns and Frostbite fact sheets.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. Exposure to CO can cause loss of consciousness and death. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms. Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home. Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector. For more information, download the Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning fact sheet.

Safely Shovel Snow

Shoveling snow? Suit up! Wear a hat, mittens, scarf and waterproof boots. Take frequent breaks. Due to the increased stress on the body that shoveling snow may cause, it is important to know the warning signs of a heart attack.

Drive Prepared in Cold Weather

You may have an emergency supply kit for your home, but did you know you should keep one in your car too? Your kit should include such items as heavy blankets, water, nonperishable food, a flashlight and a snow shovel. Download the complete car kit checklist and get more driving tips for extreme cold weather.

Where can I learn more?

For updates on winter weather and emergency preparedness, follow the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Office of Preparedness and Response on Twitter and Facebook. Visit the Be Prepared page for fact sheets in English and eight additional languages.

From December through March, DHMH monitors temperature conditions and incidences of cold-related illnesses and deaths. Visit the Extreme Cold in Maryland page to see the weekly reports. The site also includes the State Cold Weather Emergency Plan and cold weather fact sheets.