Winter Weather Emergency Tips

In response to the forecast for severe winter weather across the BJC HealthCare service area, BJC hospitals and health service organizations have implemented contingency plans to ensure ongoing care and services to patients. Updates and general information will be posted regularly.

A major winter storm can last several days and be accompanied by high winds, freezing rain, sleet, heavy snowfall and extremes in temperature. You could become trapped at home, work or on the road without utilities or other services. Attempting to walk in severe winter conditions can be a hazardous and deadly decision.

Winter storms are deceptive killers. The majority of deaths in winter storms are an indirect result of the storm including vehicle accidents, exhaustion, heart attacks while shoveling snow, hypothermia and asphyxia from carbon monoxide poisoning related to heater malfunctions or improper venting.

Warming Centers in St. Louis City and County

Keep a Winter Survival Kit in Each Car

  • Extra coat, gloves and mittens
  • Warm clothes and socks
  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • Insulated boots
  • Plastic bags for sanitation
  • Non-perishable food products like nuts, dried fruit and nutrition bars
  • Bottled water or juice
  • Non-clumping kitty litter, ice melt or sand
  • Flashlight
  • Shovel and ice scraper
  • Windshield washer fluid or deicer fluid
  • A candle, matches and fireproof metal can for a heat source if stranded for an extended period of time in your vehicle — use with extreme caution
  • Keep your vehicle’s fuel tank at least half full at all times
  • Have you vehicle serviced and winterized to minimize the risk of an automotive failure and being stranded in winter
  • If possible, do not take long trips alone
  • Monitor weather along your route and make sure someone else knows your route and when you are expected to arrive
  • Join a motor club (may be provided by your insurance)
  • Avoid driving if it is not necessary

If You Become Stranded

  • Stay with your vehicle
  • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help — preferably red
  • Run your engine occasionally to stay warm
    • Remember that carbon monoxide can build up inside your vehicle even if the exhaust pipe is clear
    • Running the heater for 10 minutes each hour (or 5 minutes each half-hour) is enough to keep occupants warm and reduce
      the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
    • Use the heater while the engine is running, keep the exhaust pipe clear and a “down wind” window opened slightly for ventilation
    • Leave the dome light on while the engine is running so you can be seen

If You Must Go Out

  • Winter Weather — Safe Walking Tips
  • Dress in layers, wear a hat, scarf and mittens; several layers of light clothing are warmer than one layer of thick clothing and mittens are warmer than gloves
  • Wear shoes or boots that minimize slips, or use ice shoes when appropriate
  • Walk carefully on icy and snow covered surfaces; falls are frequent sources of injury in the winter and can have long lasting effects
  • Carry a cellular phone to call for help if you become stranded
  • Reduce speed on ice and snow for safety; braking distance may be increased ten fold
  • Take a thermos of warm broth with you

If Hypothermia or Frostbite Is Suspected

  • Begin warming the person slowly and seek medical assistance
  • Begin warming the trunk first
  • Get the victim in dry clothing if necessary and wrap the entire body in a blanket
  • If possible, the person can drink warm fluids that do not contain alcohol or caffeine

BJC Employees
During an emergency event, you may be notified or called back to assist with staffing shortages. Anticipate staying at work for more than two shifts. This list will assist you in packing accordingly.