Old Man Winter didn't waste anytime bearing down on us. Blasting us with icy cold January weather right at the holidays.

If it caught you unprepared, here are 10 things you need to know to keep you safe this winter.

NBC Chicago listed 10 things we need to know about protecting ourselves during these deep frigid winter days.

1. Stay indoors as much as you can. if you need to venture out wear warm "wear loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Wear a scarf over your mouth to protect your lungs."

2. Watch for signs indicating hypothermia: "uncontrollable shivering, weak pulse, disorientation, incoherence and drowsiness, and frostbite, including gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness and waxy feeling skin."

3. Prepare your home for emergency heating, lighting and food in case you loose power. Have a proper source for heat, a flashlight or lantern, three days of food and water.

4. Prevent water pipes from freezing by letting "hot and cold faucets drip overnight and open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks on exterior walls."

5. Make sure your valves for outside water sources, i.e. hoses, are turned off and hoses  or pipes are drained.

6. When leaving for a few days turn your home heat back to no lower than 55 degrees.

7. "Prevent ice dams by appropriately insulating your attic’s floor and using a dehumidifier to control water vapor. Seal all openings that would allow vapor to rise into the attic."

8. Always have an emergency kit in your car in case of getting stuck in the snow or your having car problems. Your kit should include the following: "cell phone charger, flares, flashlight, drinking water, preserved food, cat litter for traction, heavy gloves, jumper cables and a first-aid kit."

9. If your car breaks down try to move it off to the side of the road if at all possible. Keep the doors lock and seat belts on, keep your kids in their safety seats as well.

10. Call *999 for roadside emergency assistance.

It's always good to go over the basics and be reminded of what to do when winter hits. Because no matter how much we say we're prepared, we typically aren't.


At least that's how it was for me.