Safety & preparedness

Tips to keep neighbors safe during winter storms

Written by Team Nextdoor

Last updated on January 28, 2022

While snow days may be exciting for some, winter storms can lead to extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, high winds, and power outages posing a safety risk. As networks and public agencies experience congestion and high call volumes, Nextdoor is a place neighbors can turn to stay connected, communicate about relevant local information, and ask for or lend help to nearby neighbors. 

Below are the some winter safety tips from national and local authorities:

  • If you don’t have to drive, stay off the roads.
  • Don’t heat your home with your stove or oven as carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless and can make you sick, or worse, take your life.
  • If you are using a generator, use it outside in a well-ventilated area – do not use it in a garage. 
  • If you are using your car to get warm, do not turn on and run your car in a garage – you must be outside.
  • Be sure to plug in your space heater directly into the outlet and keep them far away from things that can catch fire like furniture and blankets.
  • Know the warning signs of hypothermia and seek emergency help if any symptoms arise.

Remember to continue following CDC guidance to stay safe from COVID-19. For more winter safety tips, you can reference official sources such as, FEMA, the National Weather Service, or the U.S. Fire Administration

Here are some ways Nextdoor can connect you to your neighbors during a storm:

  • If you are able to help a neighbor in need such as lending extra blankets, a spare space heater, or are willing to shovel snow, add yourself to Nextdoor’s Help Map
  • If you need any help, search the Help Map to find and contact neighbors that have offered to lend a hand or post your request in the neighborhood newsfeed.
  • Send a private message to check on neighbors that may be older, injured, or live alone.
  • Send out urgent alerts to reach neighbors immediately with time sensitive information.
  • Stay informed with up-to-date and trusted information directly from your local public agencies.

Tips for safely shoveling snow:

  • Dress warmly and in layers
  • Stay hydrated, drink lots of water
  • Snack on complex carbs
  • Take breaks every 5 minutes
  • Shovel small scoops of snow an inch or two at a time
  • Lift with your legs – not your back
  • Shovel every few hours to keep the snow from piling up

When shoveling sidewalks and curb cuts, please shovel the width of at least 36 inches (or the width mandated by your municipality)  to allow people who use wheelchairs and mobility aids to pass safely. Don’t forget to shovel out fire hydrants as extra seconds save lives. 

Here are some examples of neighbors helping one another in recent storms:

  • In Houston, Marine veteran Cody B. posted on Nextdoor to offer repair services for free and received over 450 calls from neighbors in need. He spent days collecting materials, recruiting other former marines to help, and went from house to house repairing burst pipes while prioritizing homes with elderly residents or children. 
  • 73-year-old Sherry lives alone in Houston and is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. She is normally pretty self-sufficient, but the devastating storms and power outage pushed her to her limit. Sherry posted on Nextdoor that multiple neighbors came to the rescue and ultimately saved her life by regularly checking on her, advising on pipes, and bringing over hot water and meals. 
  • Over in Austin, Dustin J. started a thread inviting neighbors to ask for help. When he learned that the local nursing home was out of food and water, Dustin and his family collected over 250 pounds worth of donations from neighbors for the nursing home. But he didn’t stop there – in the same day, he also drove a woman to pick up her medication, and cooked a warm meal for 20 staff members of a local animal shelter who had only received pet food donations. During a stop at a local bodega to pick up supplies, a neighbor in line noticed Dustin’s volunteer efforts and paid for the entire $200 haul as a thanks from the community.
  • Nicole D. from Irving, TX wanted to keep stray animals safe during freezing temperatures, so she made temporary animal shelters from plastic bins and hay and offered them up for free on Nextdoor to distribute around the neighborhood.
  • Dan E. from Washington was out of town for a family emergency when he lost the ability to communicate with his wife, Sharon, due to network congestion and power outages. Concerned for her wellbeing, he reached out to their Nextdoor community to ask if anyone could check on her. After a dozen different neighbors stopped by to check-in and help clear her porch and walkways with tractors and shovels, Sharon posted a note of gratitude sharing, “Thanks again to my Angels, for shoveling my snow— but more than that, rekindling my love and faith in GOOD people!”

Stay safe, and thank you for doing your part to ensure everyone has a neighborhood they can rely on.

To connect with your local neighborhood, please login at


  • I cant figure out how to leave my own post. Does anyone know where to find bags of ice. with no water at all I fill my thermal cup with ice and bottled water and just keep refilling it but I am out of ice since cant make my own. Desperately need a bag of ice. I’m 75 so I dont feel safe driving around to look for some.

    • Hi Fran, this is Nextdoor’s national blog. Login at to connect with your neighbors! Best of luck and stay safe.

  • Pat your post intrigues me! I live in Valley View Farms in Sevierville off of Boyds Creek Rd. I’m going to be getting a new dog soon. Do you ever help people train their animals? I’m 51 and have had Multiple Sclerosis for @29 years. I’ve had two dogs previously (a German Shepard & Labrador mix both from Young Williams Animal Shelter. I REALLY miss having a best buddy around! My husband David tries to help although he’s working @ 70 a week managing a Food City in Pigeon Forge🤷🏻!

  • I hope everyone is doing well after such a hard week. Reach out to your neighbor to make sure they are safe as well. 😛😛

  • Robert groffel davis road need help in something small or just a call can’t do much as for physical work but my phone is always on and so is my pc 🤯

  • Respecting the Hypothermia warning from ND, “Know the warning signs of hypothermia and seek emergency help if any symptoms arise.” Like CO poisoning, drunkenness, & drowsiness, the symptoms are often unnoticed by the victim, and signs are easier seen by a companion.
    Signs : Low (<95F) body temp, confusion, difficulty speaking/mumbling, lack of coordination/stumbling/fumbling, low skin temperature (can make them think they are too hot), and sometimes slow/weak breath or pulse, blanching, flushing (especially infants), uncontrollable shivering, large pupils, & dehydration (skin tenting). In severe hypothermia, a person may be unconscious, or without apparent breath or pulse, & sudden movement can cause heart failure, until re-warmed in the hospital.
    Symptoms: dizziness, lack of attention/focus, fatigue/lethargy (like a big meal).
    At the first mild signs, move to a warm (not hot) dry environment & sip at warm drinks. If worse, call 911 & gently move to a warm (not hot) dry environment & clothing or blanket in preparation for ambulance.

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