From Winterizing Your Home to Driving Tips, Here's How to Brace for Frigid Weather

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Cold weather is moving in real soon.

According to forecast modules, the weather is likely to bare snow, very gusty winds, frigid wind chills and the potential for blizzard-like conditions in the leadup to Christmas.

As a result, travel will become difficult, if not impossible, during the height of the storm, and power outages will be possible due to the hazardous conditions.

So, how can you brace to brave not only the forthcoming forecast, but the entire season?

Here are some tips from officials on how to prepare winter.

How to Winterize Your Home

There are several do's and don'ts when it comes to winterizing your home, according to Chicago's Department of Water Management, as well as the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, and utility service Peoples Gas.


  • Make sure all portable heaters are not plugged when not in use
  • Keep warm air circulating in buildings
  • Keep a trickle of water running to prevent pipes from freezing in cold temperatures
  • Inspect your chimney
  • Test your smoke detectors
  • Get your furnace checked to make sure the pilot light and thermostat are working, as well as to ensure there aren't any leaks or cracks
  • Add weather stripping on doors and windows
  • Unplug appliances when traveling
  • Prepare for snow with shovels or snow blowers
  • Keep snow and ice off natural gas meters by broom or hand to prevent ice accumulation from damaging the equipment


  • Never use stoves or ovens for heat, as it can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Never bring charcoal or gas grills indoors
  • Do not put electric space heaters near curtains or other flammable materials
  • Never leave electric space heaters on while asleep

While the Chicago Fire Department advises against the use of space heaters, the department offers residents with tips if they must be used. Residents are asked to make sure their unit is UL-certified and it stays at least three feet away from anything that can ignite. If a space heater is used in a room with children, close supervision is strongly recommended.

Officials said if extension cords are used with a space heater, they should never go under carpet and be rated at a minimum of 15 amps. They also remind residents that an active carbon monoxide detector is legally required by ordinance.

Driving Tips and Safety Suggestions

Here are a series of pointers offered by the Illinois Tollway to keep drivers safe:

  • If vehicles become disabled on area tollways, drivers are urged to activate their hazard lights and to call *999 from their phone to receive assistance from Illinois State Police
  • Real-time information on pavement conditions and roadway incidents are available on the Twitter accounts of the individual tollways or on the tollway’s website
  • Be sure to fully charge your cell phone
  • Be sure to fully inflate tires
  • Keep gas tanks at least half-full to avoid gas lines freezing
  • Keep a cold weather safety kit that includes gloves, boots, blankets, road flares, water and a flashlight

General Tips for When You're Outdoors

Chicago's OEMC advises residents to limit their time outdoors and to wear layers of warm clothing while watching for signs of frostbite and hypothermia when heading outdoors.

Here are things to keep in mind when you're outside:

  • Wear multiple layers, including a hat and gloves because they keep the body warm, acting as insulation
  • Continued cold exposure can lead to frostbite, so rewarm exposed skin with a warm, wet wash cloth
  • Older individuals, or those who are relatively inactive, should use caution when shoveling snow as sudden exertion, combined with cold conditions, can increase heart rate and blood pressure
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