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Before Heading Over The River And Through The Woods, Make Sure You're Prepared For Winter Weather

Washington, DC -- Many families will take to the road this holiday season, visiting family and friends across the U.S. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging everyone to take along supplies and information that will help ensure a safe arrival this winter season.

FEMA recommends preparing now to protect your family on the road and take the sting out of wintry weather:

  • Keep cars and other vehicles fueled and in good repair. Winterize your car by checking your car battery, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashers, exhaust, heater, brakes, defroster and tires. Ensure you're your car has adequate antifreeze, windshield washer fluid and oil and check regularly throughout the season.

  • Assemble a winter emergency kit for your car that includes a shovel, windshield scraper, flashlight, battery powered radio, extra batteries, water, snack food, extra hats and mittens, blanket, tow chain or rope, road salt and sand, booster cables, emergency flares and fluorescent distress flag.

  • If you must travel by car during a winter weather advisory or winter storm watch, do so in daylight, don't travel alone, keep others informed of your schedule and route, and stay on main roads. Avoid driving during a winter storm warning or blizzard warning.

  • Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water-repellent. Make sure you have a hat, mittens, a scarf, and sturdy, waterproof boots for each family member.

"With the busiest travel weekend of the year upon us, we want to make sure that everyone arrives safely no matter what weather comes our way," said FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh. "Everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to make sure that their families are as prepared as possible no matter what the risk."

Winter storms accounted for five national major disasters and eight emergency declarations in 2001 as well as five major disasters and one emergency declaration to date in 2002. The severe weather damaged homes and businesses from New York to Oregon.

For more information and tips on what you can do to prepare for winter weather, visit

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