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Office of Emergency Preparedness & Response


January 4, 2023


Good morning,

In anticipation of this weekend’s winter weather event, please see the below safety tips and emergency preparedness links. Please see email for additional information.


How to Prepare Before a Winter Storm or Extreme Cold

  • Make sure your household disaster plan is ready and all members of your household are familiar with how to contact one another in an emergency. 

  • Do not forget the needs of pets and service animals when severe weather (including winter weather and extreme cold) strikes. Learn more

  • Winterize your Go Bag by adding a blanket, warm socks and gloves. If applicable, winterize your vehicle’s emergency supply kit.

  • Your home emergency supply kit should be fully-stocked to allow you to sustain yourself for up to seven days without power, or in the event you are unable to travel far from home. You may wish to include additional items such as extra blankets, warm clothing, and a battery-operated radio to monitor weather conditions during a storm.

  • Regardless of the season, it's a good idea to prepare for an in-car emergency. Assemble an emergency supply kit for your vehicle and consider adding the following items for winter conditions: blankets, sleeping bags, sand or cat litter for wheel traction, windshield scraper, spare tire + jack and lug wrench, battery jumper cables, and brightly colored cloth to use as a flag, flares or reflective triangles.

What to Do During a Winter Storm or Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm or seek immediate shelter if outside.

  • Dress for the weather:

    1. Wear a hat, hood, or scarf.

    2. Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth.

    3. Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.

    4. Keep clothing dry; if a layer becomes wet, remove it.

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia:

    1. Hypothermia: symptoms include slurred speech, sluggishness, confusion, dizziness, shallow breathing, unusual behavior, and slow, irregular heartbeat.

    2. Frostbite: symptoms include gray, white or yellow discoloration, numbness, and waxy feeling skin.

    3. If you suspect a person is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, bring him or her someplace warm and seek medical help immediately or call 911.

If You Get Stuck on the Road

  • Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety unless help is visible within 100 yards. You could become disoriented in blowing snow.

  • Display a trouble sign if you need help; tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna and raise the hood to alert rescuers.

  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Fire Safety Tips

  • Use only portable heating equipment that is approved for indoor use.

  • Keep combustible materials, including furniture, drapes, and carpeting at least three feet away from the heat source. *never* drape clothes over a space heater to dry.

  • Always keep an eye on heating equipment. Never leave children alone in the room where a space heater is running. Turn it off when you are unable to closely monitor it.

  • Be careful not to overload electrical circuits.

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm in every room. Check and change batteries often.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

  1. Install a carbon monoxide alarm/detector in your home and check it regularly to make sure the battery is working.

  2. Kerosene heaters are dangerous and illegal in New York City.

  3. Don't heat your home with a gas stove or oven.

  4. Do not use any gas-powered appliance, such as a generator, indoors.

  5. Never use a charcoal grill or a hibachi indoors.

  6. Automobile exhaust contains carbon monoxide. Open your garage door before starting your car and do not leave the motor running in an enclosed area. Clear exhaust pipes before starting a car or truck after it snows.

  7. The most common symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning is headache. However, symptoms may also include dizziness, chest pain, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, people can become increasingly irritable, agitated and confused, eventually becoming lethargic and lapsing into unconsciousness.

  8. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911, and get the victim to fresh air immediately and open windows.

Poison Prevention Newsletter  
January 2024

About  Us

The NYC Poison Control Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for treatment advice about exposures to poisons, plants, medicines or questions about medicine safety. Pharmacists and nurses certified in poison information are there to give advice. All calls are free and confidential. Translator services are provided in more than 150 languages.

Call: 212-POISONS (212-764-7667)

Contact Us

Useful Links

Visit our Website

Request free multilingual prevention and medicine safety materials.


Poison Prevention and Medicine Safety virtual workshops are available in English, Spanish and Chinese. To schedule a virtual presentation for parents, staff or older adults, fill out the request form here.

Online Training

Our online training teaches key messages about poison prevention in the home. A certificate will be emailed after completion of the training and post-test. Access the training now!

The winter months may seem quiet, but they also bring seasonal risks. Cold weather, ice, snow, and illnesses can lead to potential poisoning exposures. Here are some reminders to keep you and your loved ones safe in the coming months. 

Store Winter Products Safely

Snow salt and ice melt can cause irritation and burns. Ingesting even a small amount of antifreeze can be dangerous. Call the NYC Poison Center right away if you think someone has swallowed these products. Don't wait for symptoms. Always store these products in their original containers and away from children and pets. 

Keep Pets Safe in Winter
Snow, ice melt and other chemicals can irritate paws. When possible, have your pet wear protective winter gear. Always wipe their paws and stomach with a damp towel when coming inside the home. Never use bleach or disinfectant wipes to clean paws. Be sure to keep products, plants and medicines out of reach of pets. Call the NYC Poison Center with any questions or if you think your pet has been exposed to these products. 

Manage Medicines Safely
Flu and other respiratory illnesses increase in the winter. Be sure to check with the NYC Poison Center to avoid giving or taking medicines with the same active ingredient. Keep track of medicine with a pill box, medicine list and log. Be sure that your medicine list is up to date and review with the health care provider and pharmacist.  

For more medicine safety tips, download our "You Can Take Medicines Safely" brochure here. 

Free January  Webinars
Join us in January! The NYC Health Department's Education and Community Partnership Unit and Poison Control Center offer FREE virtual multilingual workshops on winter safety tips, home safety and more. All participants receive a certificate. The full schedule and the links for registration can be accessed here.

Poison Prevention: Winter Safety Spanish

Tuesday, Jan 23, 2024


Registration Link

Call In Number  1-408-418-9388

Access Code 2333 177 3373

Password poison


Poison Prevention: Winter Safety English

Tuesday January 23, 2024

2-3 pm

Registration Link

Call in Number 1-408-418-9388

Access Code 2331 339 0737

Password poison


Medicine Safety for Parents

Thursday January 25, 2024


Registration Link

Call In Number  1-408-418-9388

Access Code 2331 796 2184

Password poison


Poison Prevention: Winter Safety Chinese

Thursday January 25, 2024

2-3 pm

Registration Link

Call in Number 1-408-418-9388

Access Code 2349 323 1471

Password poison

Congress is Deciding How Much Funding to Give Medicare in FY24

Millions of people can’t afford their Medicare premiums and copays. For 15 years, Congress has funded state and local efforts to find and enroll these individuals into programs that can help.


Unfortunately, the Medicare proposals under discussion do not yet include continued funding for these efforts. Our contacts on Capitol Hill tell us this window of opportunity could close as early as next week.

Leaving these programs unfunded would strip away an important tool used by community-based organizations to help vulnerable older adults.

Congress has funded this work with bipartisan support for 15 years. It's time to do so again.


No one on Medicare should ever have to skip a doctor’s visit or a dose of medicine because of costs. Visit our Action Center to learn more about this issue, customize your message, and send it to your members of Congress. Thank you for making your voice heard!


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