Prepare Your Home for the Winter Weather


With winter on the horizon, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) would like to remind Californians of important tips for preparing their homes for colder weather. It’s a great idea to begin planning for winter weather now, before it arrives.


  • Clean your gutters. After autumn leaves begin to fall off trees, make sure your gutters are clear. When gutters back up, they may overflow.
  • Check your trees. Check for any branches or dead trees that could fall on your home or a neighbor’s home when winter storms arrive.
  • Inspect your chimney and flue. Make sure your chimney and flue are safe to use before you start building fires for the season.
  • Make sure your smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm are in good condition. As you begin to use heaters and fireplaces to keep your home warm, it’s important both of these detectors work properly.
  • Visit to check the hazards in your area. Determining hazards, particularly the potential risk for flooding in the winter, can help you know what to prepare for.


As you prepare your home for winter, make sure you know what to do in the event of a power outage.

If your power goes out:

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
  • If you use a generator, only use it outdoors, at least 20 feet away from your home. Do not use a generator in rain or wet conditions, and place a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case.
  • Do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
  • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.


Making sure the members of your household know what to do during an emergency or extreme weather event is an important part of preparing your home for winter. These safety tips are helpful in any disaster:

  • Get alerts so you know what to do.
    • You can sign up to receive alerts from your county via cell phone, home phone, email, text message and, in some cases, TTY devices.
  • Make a plan to protect your people.
    • Think about who you want to connect with during an emergency.
    • Write down their names and contact information.
    • Pick one person outside the area who won’t be affected by your local disaster.
    • You and your contacts can check in safe with them.
  • Pack a Go Bag with the things you need, in case you must leave your home.
    • Essentials include cash, medication, cell phone charger, first aid kit and important documents.
    • Cal OES has tips for building your go bag here.
  • Build a Stay Box for when you’re unable to leave your home due to storms or flooding.
    • In some cases, it may be safer to stay home.
    • Add items to your Stay Box to prepare for at least three days without electricity, such as water, food for you and your family and food for pets.
  • Help friends and neighbors get ready.
    • Think about who around you may need help during an emergency.
    • Discuss needs with one another to ensure everyone gets through the disaster safely.


Listos California Disaster Ready Guide

Tips for Staying Safe in Severe Storms

Power Outage Tips

Generator Safety

Food Safety in a Power Outage