What you can do to protect yourself and your family during the winter months:
Have a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio or commercial radio to receive vital emergency information, along with a flashlight with extra batteries.
Have extra water and non-perishable food that will provide quick energy and requires no cooking. Examples would include tuna, granola bars, and peanut butter.
Have first-aid supplies on hand - and be sure to know how to properly use them.
Have an alternate heat source available in case your furnace fails. Be sure to allow proper ventilation and place it in a safe location away from flammable objects. You should have at least three feet of clearance between your alternate heat source and anything that could burn.
Have your furnace checked and serviced to ensure that it is operating properly, and will continue to do so. This will offer protection from the harmful effects of carbon monoxide. Exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness. Higher levels can result in unconsciousness or even death.
Always turn off alternate heat sources before leaving or retiring for the evening. This includes extinguishing the embers in the fireplace.
Have chimneys and fireplaces inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional.
Use a sturdy screen in front of the fireplace and burn only clean wood. Inspect or install smoke and carbon monoxide dectors. Be sure all are UL-approved.