Navigating Winter Storms

Wintertime in Idaho often brings snowfall, which, aside from the picturesque landscapes and winter fun, these colder months often bring winter storms that usher in a slew of dangers. Winter storms increase the risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. These conditions also can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds, leaving a trail of hazards in their wake.

A winter storm can last for a few hours or carry on for several days which can disrupt daily life and pose significant risks to communities. These storms can cut off heat, power, and communication services, and put individuals into potentially life-threatening situations. Among those most vulnerable are older adults, children, individuals with pre-existing health conditions, and even pets, face greater risks during severe winter weather events. Idaho Office of Emergency Management (IOEM) urges all Idahoans to be ready and prepared for anything.

How to Protect Yourself from Winter Weather

  1. Stay Informed: Familiarize yourself with winter weather terms such as Winter Storm Warning, Winter Storm Watch, and Winter Weather Advisory. Pay attention to weather reports, warnings, and advisories issued by local authorities. Sign up for your community’s warning system, and stay on top of emergency alerts through platforms like the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA Weather Radio.
  2. Prepare Your Home: Take proactive measures to keep the cold out of your home with proper insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to prevent pipes from freezing and install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups. Stock up on essential supplies in case of power outages and consider the specific needs of each household member, including medications and provisions for pets.
  3. Be Ready for Emergencies: Whether at home, work, or on the road, ensure you’re prepared for winter weather emergencies. Create an emergency supply kit for your car, including essentials like jumper cables, sand, flashlights, warm clothing, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep your gas tank full to avoid being stranded in wintry conditions.

Safety Tips During Winter Weather

  1. Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Only operate generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Avoid using gas stovetops or ovens for heating your home.
  2. Stay Off Roads if Possible: Minimize travel during severe winter weather, and if trapped in your car, remain inside until help arrives.
  3. Limit Time Outdoors: Wear layers of warm clothing and be vigilant for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow to reduce the risk of heart attacks.
  4. Recognize Frostbite and Hypothermia: Familiarize yourself with the signs and basic treatments for frostbite and hypothermia. Take prompt action if symptoms arise.

Generator Safety

Generators can be invaluable during power outages, but it’s crucial to use them safely to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and other hazards:

  • Always operate generators outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows, doors, and attached garages.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and keep the generator dry and protected from the elements.
  • Use heavy-duty extension cords to connect appliances and allow the generator to cool before refueling.

By staying informed, prepared, and vigilant, you can navigate winter storms and protect yourself, your loved one, and neighbors against winter storm challenges. For more information on prepared before an emergency, visit

FEMA Seeks Leaders for Youth Preparedness Council 

BOTHELL, Wash.  –  FEMA is accepting applications for the Youth Preparedness Council (YPC), a program that brings teens together from across the nation who are interested and engaged in community preparedness.

Council members are selected based on their dedication to public service, their efforts in making a difference in their communities and their potential to expand their impact as national leaders for emergency preparedness. Students in grades eight through 11 are eligible to apply.

FEMA Administrator Dianne Criswell recognizes the important role that the YPC plays in shaping our future.

“The Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for teens across America to get a sense of what it’s like to be an emergency manager. It also lets us take a glimpse into the future of our profession —and let me say, the future is bright,” said Administrator Criswell. “These young leaders give me so much hope that we’ll be able to create a more prepared, resilient America that the next generation needs and deserves. I’m looking forward to watching this new Council come together and seeing what they’re able to accomplish.”

During their one-year term, council members collaborate with each other to develop projects that promote preparedness on a local, regional, and national scale. Members also engage with leaders within FEMA, the federal government, and national non-profit organizations.

Youth interested in applying to the council must submit a completed application form and provide two letters of recommendation. All applications and supporting materials must be submitted no later than March 4. New council members will be announced by June 2024.

Youth living in FEMA Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) may be invited to join the FEMA Region 10 YPC, a similar council that focuses specifically on creating projects within these four states.

To access the application materials, read about the current council members, and for more information about the Youth Preparedness Council visit the Youth Preparedness Council page on


Follow FEMA Region 10 on X and LinkedIn for the latest updates and visit for more information.

FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.