Planning and Preparedness

Before Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

If you don't have to travel, don't.

To prepare for a winter storm you should do the following:

  • Make sure you have plenty of food and drinking water, and extra medications stored.
  • Get a flashlight and some extra batteries. Have a NOAA weather radio, some extra batteries. A few candles and matches
  • Animals-make sure you have extra food and water stored for them too.
  • Extra fuel for your home heating source
  • Cell phone and charger with extra battery.
  • Monitor News outlets, social media, and weather sites prior to and during an event
  • Don't be outside unless absolutely needed, but if able, check on your elderly and special needs neighbors.
  • Plan, prepare, and be ready ahead of any incidents.
  • Only use 911 for emergencies.

Thunderstorm Safety:

Key Terms:

  • A severe thunderstorm watch is issued when conditions are conducive to the development of severe thunderstorms in and around the watch area, and indicates when a severe thunderstorm is likely to occur.
  • A severe thunderstorm warning is issued when a severe thunderstorm has been observed by spotters or indicated on radar. Warnings indicate that a severe thunderstorm is occurring or imminent in the warning area, and is a danger to life and property in the path of the storm.


  • Secure any outside window fixtures/coverings.
  • Secure any objects that are outside and may become projectiles and cause damage due to strong wind gusts.
  • Close blinds, shades, or curtains, and keep a safe distance from them.
  • Avoid using sinks, showers, bathtubs, or landline telephones because these have the ability to conduct electricity. (Mobile phones are safe.)
  • Unplug major electrical appliances such as televisions, computers, corded phones, and air conditioners to mitigate the likelihood of damage due to a power surge.
  • Shelter pets inside, on a leash or in a crate/carrier.
  • Make sure to have a NOAA Weather Radio with batter-power so you can receive weather alerts and storm updates if you lose electrical power.


  • If you are in an open area find a low-lying place and go there, but beware of potential flash flooding.
  • If you are in an area with trees, take shelter in a low area under a thick growth of trees, if possible.
  • If you are on open water, get to land and seek shelter immediately.
  • If you are in a vehicle, keep the windows closed.
  • If you are outdoors and feel your hand stand on end (this indicates that lightning is about to strike) DO NOT lie flat on the ground. Instead, squat low to the ground and place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. The idea is to minimize contact with the ground and make yourself as small as possible.
  • Stay away from anything made of metal (e.g. bicycles, golf clubs, tractors, etc.).
  • Avoid tall trees in open areas, hilltops, beaches, or boats on open water.

Flood Tips:

  • If you are in a situation where you are trapped by flood water in your home or vehicle, call 911.
  • To report flood damage to your home, call 260-358-4870 to let EMA know.
  • Call in flooded roadways or hazardous areas to Huntington Co. Public Safety Dispatch at: 260-356-8316.
  • Listen to the radio or television for up-to-date information and maintain awareness of circumstances around you - we all know things can change quickly.
  • Be aware of stream, drainage channels, and areas known to flood suddenly.
  • Do not walk through moving water. If you must walk through water, try to walk in a place where the water is not moving.
  • DO NOT DRIVE through flooded areas. If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if it is safe to perform this action. If the water is moving very quickly you and the car can be swept away quickly.
  • Do not park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks when flood conditions threaten the area.

Select one of the images below to go to their website (opens in new browser window):

Dept of Homeland SecurityUnited States Department of Homeland Security
Indiana Dept of Homeland Security
Indiana Department of Homeland Security
Details about how to prepare for all types of disasters and emergencies are available on the IDHS website at