Cold Weather Safety Tips

Resources to help make it through the extreme temperatures of winter in St. Louis: pet safety, home care, avoiding injury, dealing with cold weather hazards.


St. Louis City winters, which often bring extreme cold, snow, ice, sleet, and freezing rain, can pose serious hazards.

Winter weather kills hundreds of people in the U.S. each year, primarily due to traffic accidents, fires from improper use of heaters, overexertion, and exposure. Additionally, threats such as hypothermia and frostbite can lead to loss of fingers and toes or cause permanent injury to vital organs.

It's important to prepare for winter weather-related dangers. There are several steps you can take to stay safe before, during, and after winter storms.

Winterizing your home and vehicle and supplementing your emergency kit with warm outerwear are just some of the preparations you should consider making before winter sets in.

How to Beat the Cold

The City encourages residents to use these resources to help make it through the extreme temperatures of our winter season in St, Louis.


Residents needing refuge from the frigid weather are welcome to warm up in public buildings, such as the City’s public libraries and community centers, during regular business hours. Please call the center first as hours may change for holidays or winter weather events such as snow and ice. View the list of warming centers in St. Louis, or call the United Way 211 for up-to-date information.


Shelter beds and other outreach activities may be extended during extreme weather situations. During these times, individuals or families seeking shelter should please contact the United Way at 211.

Cold Weather Hazards

Stay aware of potentially hazardous weather by subscribing to receive emergency alerts from the City Emergency Management Agency. Text STLCEMA to 888777.

The CDC's website has information on preventing and treating cold-related conditions such as carbon monoxide (CO) poisoningfrostbite and hypothermia. Also available are:

You can also review the City of St. Louis Health Department's Severe Weather page.

Tips to Avoid Injury

To help avoid injury when walking on ice and snow, we offer these simple tips:

  • Walk slowly and deliberately and wear boots or other slip-resistant footwear.
  • Be prepared for black-ice formation after melting occurs.
  • Exercise caution when getting in and out of vehicles.
  • Watch for slippery floors when entering buildings.
  • Avoid carrying items. Keep hands empty so arms are free to move for stabilization. Use backpacks if possible.

Home Care

Here are some simple steps from the Red Cross that can save you from expensive home repairs and damage from freezing pipes.

Pet Safety

Follow these tips to protect your animals during extreme weather. The ASPCA has winter pet safety tips also.

The Department of Health urges residents to consider the safety of pets during cold weather. Pets should not be exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods of time. 

If kept outdoors, animals are required to have access to adequate shelter, food, and water. Pet owners who fail to provide proper shelter and care for companion animals in extreme temperatures may be charged with cruelty to animals and prosecuted. 

If an animal appears to be in distress or is unresponsive, please contact Animal Control immediately at 314-657-1500. If calling after hours or on weekends, please call 314-231-1212.

Operation SPOT is continuing its Free Straw for Warm Paws program this year, and the Animal Care Center has straw on hand for residents. It is available at 2801 Clark Avenue, during normal business hours – 10am-5pm Monday-Sunday.

Vehicle Protection

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department advises you:

  • Do not leave your vehicle running unattended (reference Ordinance No. 68137). Leaving your vehicle unattended while the engine is running is an invitation for thieves to steal it, and City Ordinance prohibits it.
  • Call 911 if you are worried about the welfare of someone in this cold weather and have been unable to reach them.

We want everyone to stay safe this winter, but don’t just take our word for it, listen to these experts!

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