Preparing for winter weather: How to stay safe while having fun in the snow

While the snow can be fun to look at or play in, it can also be dangerous.
While the snow can be fun to look at or play in, it can also be dangerous.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 9:48 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Winter is right around the corner, and while we all love to see and play in the snow, it can be dangerous.

In East Tennessee, we experience all types of winter weather, from heavy snow to ice to sleet, and whether we are driving or hiking in it, you need to be prepared.

“We never expect an emergency to happen, but things happen all the time, unfortunately,” said Sarah DeLozier with Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management.

DeLozier said she has a kit ready to go at all times.

”With any emergency, it is important to have a lot of supplies available and easy to access in case of an emergency, that absolutely includes winter weather, power outages, and road conditions that can prevent you from going out and getting the supplies you need,” said DeLozier. “So in my kit, I have things like dog food, I have personal hygiene items, I have a blanket, some warm clothing as well.”

With our different terrain, East Tennessee can go from no snow to lots of it as you hike up the mountains.

“And with the leaves falling and the amount of moisture that is in the air, the trails can be really really slick, so you never know when there will be an accident on the trail when you’re hiking,” she said.

Sturdy shoes, water, and a first aid kit are just some items you should have when hiking.

“Also, the days are shorter in the winter too, so I know I’ve been out a couple of times and sort of been caught off guard by how early it gets dark,” said DeLozier.

You also need to ensure you have two light sources in addition to your phone to avoid draining your phone’s battery.

“This seems like a lot, but all of this really fits in a tiny little box that I can fit in my backpack and go,” said DeLozier.

Really the best way to stay safe during a big winter weather event is to stay home, “the surfaces are just more slippery, and they don’t always look like their dangerous, so taking the time to really make sure you need to go where you’re going, or you have the proper equipment to get there safely is very important.”

DeLozier also said that when you’re bundling up, go play in the snow to avoid cotton. Cotton soaks up moisture and lowers your body temperature, which can put you in danger of hypothermia.

Here is a full list of things to keep in your emergency kit during the winter weather season:

  • Water - 1 gallon per person per day
  • Food - nonperishable
  • Pet food, water and supplies
  • Weather radio with extra batteries
  • Phone charger or battery
  • Sturdy shoes and change of clothes
  • Cash (small bills and change)
  • Rain gear and coat
  • Sleeping bag and a pillow case that you can fill with the spare clothes to use as a pillow
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Duct tape
  • Special items, such as prescription medications, eyeglasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries, mobility devices.
  • Sanitation - moist towelettes, toilet paper, and trash bags
  • Insect repellant
  • Lighter
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities