Preparing the Elderly for a Winter Storm

Image by Maggie Smith, courtesy of

Image by Maggie Smith, courtesy of

Is your elderly loved one safe when the next big storm hits? With severe weather, comes power outages, freezing temperatures, leaks, falling debris, and many other hazards.  As winter bears down on the tri-state area, here are some tips on how to secure the safety and well-being of the elderly, who are even more at risk during stormy weather.

Pre-Storm Checklist

The most common storm-related causes of death are car accidents, heart attacks due to overexertion, freezing to death and carbon monoxide poisoning. To reduce the dangers of winter storms take safety precautions and anticipate potential dangers before the storm hits.

  • Be informed by setting up to receive alerts, warnings and public safety information. You can start by signing up to receive alerts from NYAlert or NotifyNYC, the city’s free emergency notification systems. You can receive phone calls, text messages and/or email alerts about traffic and emergencies.   
  • Refill prescriptions and make sure you have an extra supply of any medical necessities.
  • Along with your doctor, come up with an emergency medical plan for your loved one to maintain care and medical services if he or she is unable to leave the house for a few days. This may involve making arrangements with neighbors to help fill in with assistance until regular help can arrive.
  • Prepare for power outages, by making sure that cellphones and other important electrical devices are fully charged, flashlights are placed within reach and have fresh batteries and that emergency lights are working. If your patient uses oxygen, bi-pap, c-pap or other equipment that requires electricity, you should purchase a generator.
  • Keep spare blankets and warm clothing accessible and check that spare heating sources are well-maintenanced, safe and placed at a safe distance from any fire hazards.
  • Make sure kitchen is stocked with food, specially bottled water and non-perishables.
  • Check that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and have new batteries.


Ensure safety outside of the house by:

  • Keeping car at least half-full of gas and having tires checked for air.
  • Clearing debris from gutters and spouts to allow water to properly flow away from the house.
  • Remove any dead limbs and branches from trees around the house that could falls and cause injury or damage.  
  • Pre-arrange to have driveways, stairs and walkways plowed and cleared of snow and ice.

Keeping yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy during a storm requires awareness and preparation. Don’t wait until the storm has hit to take the proper precautions.