During Extreme Winter Weather
- Stay aware of conditions.
- Be prepared to spend several days at home if conditions are bad.
- Have an emergency plan, know how to stay informed, check on your neighbors, and gather emergency supplies. Make sure you have lots of clean water. Consider children, pets, and anyone with additional needs.
- Be ready for the common problems below.
Snow and Ice
- Don’t travel unless you absolutely must.
- Slow down! Speed is the number one reason for accidents. While three to five seconds is the standard following distance, add more time when there’s poor visibility, snow, or ice.
- Keep a Vehicle Breakdown Guide in your vehicle.
- Learn how to put on snow chains.
- Have an emergency kit in your vehicle. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help comes.
- In most areas, property owners or tenants are responsible for clearing snow and ice from in front of their homes and businesses. This helps everyone stay safer, especially people with limited physical mobility.
- Learn how to prevent falls when walking on snow and ice.
- Check in with neighbors who might need a hand.
- Gather supplies now so you’ll be ready if you lose access to utilities.
- Learn how to shut off your water and winterize your home, including how to deal with frozen or burst pipes.
- If your power goes out:
Using alternative heat sources indoors can lead to poisoning and death. If your power goes out, know how to recognize and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. View the Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power websites for info about progress restoring power to customers and further safety advice.
Also, make sure your home's exhaust vent is clear of snow and ice. If it gets clogged, it may cause carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.
Spending too much time in the cold can create a medical emergency. If your body’s temperature drops too low, you may be unable to think clearly or move well. You might not notice when it’s happening. Learn about cold weather safety so you know the signs of low body temperature and how to stay safe from frostbite and hypothermia.
If you have pets:
- Don’t forget that extreme cold can harm pets as well. Animals left outside in extreme cold are at risk of hypothermia and even death. Their owners may also be at risk of breaking the law.
If you see someone living outside in the cold:
- And you have questions about how to help, call 211.
- And you think their life is in danger, call 911.
If you need shelter:
- During extreme cold weather events, winter warming shelters are sometimes opened to help protect people who don’t have access to shelter. During extreme weather, contact 211info or visit your county's website to find resources near you:
Clackamas, Clark, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington
If you need financial assistance:
- If you need help paying your energy bills or weatherizing your home, contact 211info to see if assistance is available in your area.
How to contact 211:
- Call 211 or 1-866-698-6155 (24/7)
- TTY dial 711 and call 1-866-698-6155
- Text your zip code to 898211 (TXT211) Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
- Email email@example.com
- Download the app
- Search online at 211info.org
Interpreters for 100+ languages available by phone; text and email is in English and Spanish only.
The cold, dark days of winter can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s also known as the “winter blues,” and it’s very common. It can be especially hard when you’re dealing with other challenges, such as the pandemic. If you are struggling, know that you are not alone. Reach out to a friend or a trained mental health provider.
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Experiencing low energy
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in mood, sleeping habits, appetite, and weight
Ways to Fight the Blues
- Spend time outdoors
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Practice meditation
- Try light therapy
- Get regular exercise
- Call or video chat with a friend
- Contact a trained mental health professional