Winter Storm Safety

BlizzardEveryone is potentially at risk during winter storms. The actual threat to you depends on your specific situation.

Deaths related to ice and snow

  • About 70% occur in automobiles
  • About 25% are people caught out in the storm
  • Majority are males over 40 years old

Deaths related to exposure to cold

  • 50% are people over 60 years old
  • Over 75% are males
  • About 20% occur in the home

Winter storms occur between the months of December and April, and can immobilize whole communities for a few days. The problem can be compounded by hypothermia and power outages. Dangerous driving conditions occur several times a month, particularly on Highway 6, I-25, and I-70, with strong winds lowering visibility and the wind chill index.

When Caught in a Winter Storm

Shelter is available:

  • Try to stay dry.
  • Cover all exposed parts of the body.

No shelter is available:

  • Prepare a lean-to, wind-break or snow cave for protection from the wind.
  • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention. Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • Do not eat snow. It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.

In your car:

Stay in your car or truck. Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold.

  • Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat.
  • Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked. Make yourself visible to rescuers.
  • Turn on the dome light at night when running engine.
  • Tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.
  • Raise the hood indicating trouble after snow stops falling.
  • Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers, and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

Stay inside:

  • Cover windows at night.
  • Eat and drink. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration, and subsequent chill.

Using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.:

  • Use fire safeguards.
  • Properly ventilate.

When no heat is available:

  • Close off unneeded rooms.
  • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.

Emergency Car Kit

Winter storms can occur quickly, without much warning. During the winter months, be prepared–keep a winter-weather box in your vehicle. Items to include are:

  • A battery-powered radio (extra batteries)
  • Flashlight (extra batteries)
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Booster cables
  • High calorie food (nuts, candy bars, etc.)
  • Candles/matchesCoffee can with lid (to melt snow)
  • First aid kit
  • Bottled water
  • Extra clothes/boots
  • Kitty litter or rock salt
  • Shovel
  • Bright colored cloth (hang on antenna)
  • Map
  • Newspapers, cards, games
  • Plastic bags (sanitation)
  • Pocket knife, handsaw or ax
COG Mesa

 Golden was named after Thomas L. Golden,
a gold prospector who arrived in Jefferson County in 1858.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa
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