(WAOW)-- When winter weather strikes, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself at home and on the roads.
Emergency officials recommend that you always have extra flashlights and batteries available at home in case the power goes out. A radio and bottled water are also recommended items.
Wisconsin Public Service officials warn you should stay away from downed power lines. When heavy snow rests on branches and lines, they can buckle under the weight. Also, make sure your clear your furnace and water heater vents to avoid build-up of carbon monoxide. They also recommend clearing snow off of energy meters.
Experts recommend you carry a winter storm survival kit in the back seat of your vehicle (in case your trunk jams or is frozen shut) that includes:
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Extra hats, socks and mittens
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• First-aid kit
• Shovel, booster cables and windshield scraper
• Water and high-calorie non-perishable food (raisins, candy bars, energy/protein bars)
• Sand or cat litter to use for traction
• Cell phone adapter
Pets need extra care when the temperature drops. They should be brought inside when temperatures are below freezing. Chemicals used to melt snow can also irritate your pet's paws, and be sure to keep anti-freeze salt and other poisons away from them.