Be prepared for any emergency, any time of year


Photo of a destroyed home in Parkersburg, Iowa, in May 2008Emergencies are part of life. Fire, police and emergency medical services may be delayed in an emergency or unable to respond. Whether it's tornadoes, flooding, winter storms or an act of terrorism, emergencies can occur quickly and without warning. Although we cannot prevent emergencies, there we can prepare for them.


This time of year can bring winter storms, blizzards, ice storms, periods of extremely cold temperatures, and dangerous wind chills. Frostbite, hypothermia, and motor vehicle accidents pose real threats to the safety of all Iowans. Being prepared at home and on the road can mean the difference between life and death.


Winter weather safety tips

  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • Dress warmly in loose-fitting, layered, light-weight clothing.
  • Avoid overexertion; cold weather puts added strain on the heart. If you do shovel snow, be sure to take frequent breaks.
  • Keep dry, and change wet clothing frequently to prevent loss of body heat.
  • Don’t drive in bad weather if it’s not necessary. The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents.
  • Have your vehicle systems checked by a mechanic, and install good winter tires.
  • Maintain at least half a tank of gas at all times.
  • Keep an emergency supply kit in your car.

Winter weather information from the National Weather Service offices serving Iowa can be found on the National Weather Service website. Check your local National Weather Service office for more information.


Additional winter weather information can be found on the Winter Weather page.


Any time of year, there are three simple steps you can take to be more prepared:

  • Build a kit. Your emergency supply kit should have everything you need to sustain you and your family for 3-5 days. Get a checklist you can use to put together your own kit.

  • Make a plan. Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency is key. Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do. Get your family plan here.

  • Be Aware.┬áLearn about the hazards that can affect your community, and learn how to get information about current weather and road conditions.