Matthew R. Dimmick

There is a winter weather event making its way into the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast tonight into tomorrow. With the potential for ice and snow moving through portions of the metro-area, and with even higher snowfall totals potentially impacting the I-95 corridor, there is no time like the present for some winter weather emergency preparedness tips. For ease of reference we have broken these items down into preparedness in the home as well as in your vehicles during your daily commute.

Emergency Preparedness for Your Home:

Everyone knows that the first thing you do when a winter storm is approaching your area is to run to the store and pick up bread and milk, even if you have enough to last for weeks. The instinct to store necessities in advance of disasters or impending bad weather is a deeply seated learned behavior that has been developed throughout history. 

Items that are often overlooked in home preparations for winter storms include:

      • Purchasing rock salt (or whichever ice melting material you prefer) 

      • A good shovel (or a few of them if you have kids)

      • Weather appropriate clothing (gloves, hats, scarves, etc.)

      • Additional blankets and heating fuel (particularly if you utilize stored oil or LPG for heat).  

      • Conducting minor home maintenance such as cleaning gutters, checking weather stripping, and cleaning heating units (base boards, filters, vents, etc.) before the winter is highly recommended as well. 

For more on home preparedness with a series of common sense and easily manageable steps to a more prepared home and family please visit

Emergency Preparedness for Your Vehicle:

Of course, it wouldn’t be winter storm preparedness if we didn’t prepare for your vehicle as well. Begin preparing your vehicle by ensuring it has been properly maintained for the season. Check antifreeze and oil levels, batteries, breaks, tires, windshield wipers, heaters, and defrosters as well as lights and hazard lights.

Once you are sure that your car is ready for the rough weather ahead, it is time to prepare the potential occupants as well. Prepare an emergency kit to keep in your vehicle with enhancements for cold weather beginning in October. Your vehicle emergency kit should include a small shovel, kitty litter or play sand (for traction if you get stuck), a flashlight, a windshield scraper and /or deicing spray, matches, blankets, extra hats, socks, and gloves.

Additionally, jumper cables or a jumper pack, a first aid kit (and spare medications for family members), food (plan for 1 day for the maximum amount of occupants), and emergency equipment such as flags, triangles, or flashing lights are all important to have. 

Emergency Preparedness for your Animals:

On a final note, companion animals are susceptible to extreme weather and must be afforded appropriate shelter for all seasons. We encourage everyone with companion animals to take similar steps to ensure the safety of their individual animals (include food for your animals in your vehicle emergency kit if you transport them in your vehicle as well). 

MSA Security prides itself on the fact that all of our Explosive Detection Canines (EDCs) live with their handlers in the handler’s home and are well protected at all times from the elements. All of our canine friends are closely monitored while they are at work to ensure they are safe and well cared for regardless of the weather. In extreme weather (heat or cold) MSA Security deploys additional teams as needed to ensure EDC exposure is properly managed.

For more information on Emergency Preparedness or MSA's EDCs, Contact Us.


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