Winter Weather Reminders and Safety Tips

Click here for National Weather Service updates.

Safety Tips and Service Information:

Safety Tips and Service Information

Village Snow and Ice Control Program

Winter weather is underway, which means Public Works has implemented their snow and ice control program.

The goal of the snow and ice control program is to have all streets cleared with pavement in safe and passable conditions within eight hours following the conclusion of any snowfall event. The plan divides the Village into six separate plowing and salting routes, and within each route, streets are assigned a priority with the objective that major streets are cleared first, followed by side streets and culs-de-sac.

  • The Village plows and salts streets on a priority basis. Arterial streets such as Dundee, Sheridan and Green Bay Roads are cleared and salted first to maintain safe routes for all vehicular traffic. Side streets are cleared next, and salt is used primarily at intersections, curves and hills. The Village’s policy is to control salt usage to reduce its impact on infrastructure, equipment and the environment, while maintaining safe winter driving conditions. Culs-de-sac and dead-end streets are prioritized last and are plowed using smaller trucks. Depending upon the amount of snowfall during an event, Village plow trucks may need to make several passes to ensure that streets are fully open, curb-to-curb.
  • Residential sidewalks are plowed only after a snowfall of three or more inches. Like street plowing, priority is given to sidewalks along major street routes, around schools and in the downtown business district. Clearing all residential sidewalks generally takes a few days to complete. The Village encourages residents to help in this effort by clearing snow from the public sidewalks around their homes.
  • Driveways are often impacted by snow removal efforts. Village crews try to clear snow curb to curb as soon after the storm as possible; however, during heavy snowfalls, plows may run as many as three or four passes to clear snow, resulting in snow being pushed across the base of driveways several times. Please consider this before you begin to clear your driveway. Also, remember to throw the snow removed from your driveway to the ‘downstream’ side (the right side of your driveway as you face the street). This reduces the impact that street plowing has on your driveway access.
  • Parking on Village streets during a snow emergency is prohibited. A snow emergency is any accumulation of two or more inches of new snow or ice in a 24-hour period. Vehicles parked on the street make it difficult for Village crews to plow and are at risk of being ticketed.
  • “Adopt” your local fire hydrant. The Village asks that residents help keep fire hydrants accessible for the Public Safety Department by clearing space around all sides of any hydrant in proximity to your home as you complete your shoveling or snow blowing. Your private contractor can help in this effort as well. Fire hydrants that are buried or blocked by piles of snow may result in the Public Safety Department not being able to locate the hydrants in a timely manner during emergency situations.

For more information regarding the Village’s snow and ice control practices, please contact the Public Works Department at (847) 835-4134.

Personal Safety
  • Dress appropriately: Stay indoors as much as possible and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers. If you must be outside, wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves and a hat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air. Avoid taking deep breaths and minimize talking. Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Physical Exertion: If shoveling or clearing off your car, be careful not to overexert yourself. Stretch before beginning and take frequent breaks.
  • Food and Drink: Eat regularly as food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Also keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink liquids such as warm broth or juice. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Pets: Bring all pets indoors, limiting outdoor exposure as much as possible. When letting pets out for restroom breaks, stand by the door and call them back in immediately. Should you see a pet or feral animal left in the cold, you may report it to the Public Safety Department’s Animal Control Officer at (847) 835-4112. Learn more about how to keep your pets safe here.
  • Well-Being Checks: Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone. Call Public Safety at (847) 835-4112 to request a well-being check.
  • If your home loses heat, remember that Village Hall is a warming center. 24-7 access to the building is available via the Hazel Avenue entrance. Simply pick up the phone in the vestibule to be connected to an emergency dispatcher. Other local warming centers can be found here.
Prepare Your Home

Frozen pipes: 

Did you know that bitterly cold temperatures can cause frozen pipes? While Glencoe Public Safety does respond to busted pipes to help mitigate the situation, please do your part this winter to prevent your pipes from freezing. 

Why Pipes Freeze:
Water expands as it freezes and this puts great pressure on all pipes. Regardless of the material a pipe is made of or how strong it is, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes exposed to severe cold are the ones most likely to break. These include outdoor hose bibs, water sprinkler lines, water supply pipes in unheated areas like the garage, the attic, kitchen cabinets, basements and crawl spaces. Pipes on outside walls may have little or no insulation.

 Preventing Frozen Pipes:

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply pipes in them.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to get near the plumbing.
  • Running a trickle of water through faucets that connect to pipes in unheated areas can help prevent freezing.
  • During severe cold, keep thermostats set to the same temperature day and night. If you go away, keep your thermostat set to at least 55°F. 
  • Insulate pipes with products specifically made to insulate water pipes. Consult with a professional if you don’t know how to do this.
  • Know where your main water shut off valve is in your house, so if a pipe does burst, you can quickly stop the damage. Find this valve and learn how to use it before you need to.
  • Get more tips from the American Red Cross here

If Your Pipes Do Freeze:

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water as this increases the chances of electrocution. 
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Should you need assistance with this, please call Public Safety at (847) 835-4112.

Home heating is the second leading cause of fires in the U.S. Remember that all heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment. If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets – never into an extension cord – and only plug one appliance (such as a heater) into an outlet at a time. Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.

Carbon monoxide:
As you ramp up the heat, be sure to test your carbon monoxide detector and keep furnace vents clear from snow drifts. Learn about the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning here.

Fire hydrants:
Please help the Village keep fire hydrants clear of snow. In an emergency, it is of the utmost importance that Public Safety has access to hydrants.
If your home loses heat, remember that Village Hall is a warming center. 24-7 access to the building is available via the Hazel Avenue entrance. Simply pick up the phone in the vestibule to be connected to an emergency dispatcher. Other local warming centers can be found here.

Adapted from safety information shared by the American Red Cross
Prepare Your Car

Adapted from safety information shared by the American Red Cross
Stay off the road if possible during severe weather. The safest way to travel in a snow storm is via public transportation (see the drop-down below).

If you must drive in winter weather, follow these tips:

  • Keep a windshield scraper and a small sack of sand (for generating traction under your wheels) in your car. The Red Cross also recommends preparing an emergency supply kit, including warm clothing, water and snacks.
  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
When driving: 
  • Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snow plows.
  • Remember that ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.
If you become stranded:
  • Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible and within 100 yards (about a football field away). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
  • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
  • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
Utilities and Potential Service Disruptions
  • Electricity: Winter storms often lead to downed lines and power outages. Report all downed lines and outages to ComEd either online here or by calling 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661). 
  • Gas: Report any general service disruptions to North Shore Gas Customer Service at (866) 556-6004. Should you smell gas or if you have a fire, get everyone out of your house immediately. To report a potential gas leak, call North Shore Gas at (866) 556-6005.
  • Water: Extreme cold puts pressure on the Village’s water production and distribution systems. Any minor water main breaks or other service disruptions will be reported directly to the impacted resident(s). To report an issue, call the Public Works Department at (847) 835-4111.
Public Transportation

If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation if possible. Before heading out for the train or bus, check for service disruptions, and be sure to dress warmly and allow extra time for your trip.  

  • Metra: If you’re planning to take the UP-N line, Metra encourages you to “Know Before You Go.” Riders are also advised that travel times will increase due to speed restrictions (maximum speeds are reduced to 60 mph when temperatures drop below -10°. You can also check here to get the most up-to-date information on extreme weather/snow schedules, service updates and more.
  • Pace: 

    Winter weather may slow traffic and cause service delays for Pace Bus riders. Pace encourages ADA Paratransit riders to take essential trips only. Use Bus Tracker (fixed-route) and Trip Check (paratransit) for real-time updates on Pace service.