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Wisconsin Seniors And Individuals With Disabilities Should Prepare For Winter Weather

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Release date: 
December 2, 2010
Release Number: 

CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis. -- Extreme cold and harsh winter weather can dramatically increase the daily hardships and day-to-day survival challenges for Wisconsin’s elderly and those with physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disabilities.

With temperatures dropping and snowflakes beginning to fall, Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) say that now is the time to take a few easy steps to prepare for emergencies.

Seniors and people with disabilities should:

  • Check with their physician or oxygen supplier about emergency plans for respirators or electrical-powered medical equipment;
  • Plan now to have electrical backup for medical equipment;
  • Develop a back-up communications plan in case land lines are disrupted by having a charged cell phone or a pager;  
  • Maintain a two-week supply of medications, both prescription and non-prescription;
  • Have copies of medical records, prescriptions and medical needs readily available;
  • Plan now to have accessible transportation in case of evacuation;
  • Have contact lenses, extra eyeglasses and batteries for hearing aids ready to go;
  • Include service animals and pets in plans; and
  • Think ahead about neighborhood shelters that can accommodate the needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities should develop and stay in touch with a nearby network of assistance before winter storms or record cold move in. It’s important for neighbors, relatives, care attendants, friends and coworkers to be part of your care and communications circle. Never depend on one person alone.      

Severe winter weather including snow, subfreezing temperatures, strong winds, ice or even heavy rain requires planning ahead.

Emergency supply kits should include:

  • A battery or hand crank-powered radio, extra flashlights and batteries, and at minimum a week’s supply of food and water;
  • Adequate clothing and blankets for warmth; and
  • First Aid Supplies.  

Finally, it is important to understand the terms of declining weather and pending winter storms.

  • A winter weather advisory means that cold, ice and snow are expected;
  • A winter storm watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two; and
  • A winter storm warning means that severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.

Remember that planning ahead, assembling an emergency supply kit, staying informed and keeping those in your circle informed about you are the best ways to stay safe through the uncertain days of winter.

FEMA welcomes ideas on how we can all help our communities before disaster strikes and how the government can support community-based activities to help everyone be more prepared. To submit ideas before the Jan. 2, 2011 deadline, visit: or e-mail: Submissions will be judged based on originality, level of community engagement and ease of implementation. The best, most unique idea will be selected as the winner and will be highlighted at

For holiday safety information, visit:

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, a...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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