Sierra Seniors’ Emergency Preparedness Guide for 2021/2022

featured image showing two seniors looking out the window at a winter storm while staying warm inside with a hot beverage

Winter is upon us here in the Truckee, North Lake Tahoe area. With that comes risk, especially for our local seniors. Help mitigate unwelcome situations with this downloadable guide from Sierra Senior Services. Seniors need to know how to stay warm, stay fed and how to navigate any emergency. The information here will provide tips and area-specific resources to keep our seniors safe and happy this winter.

Download the Sierra Seniors’ Emergency Preparedness Guide


How to Stay Warm

Keeping warm is a basic need we all share. As we go into winter’s chilliest months, use these tips to stay warm without running up the utility bill.

Dress in Layers

Bundle up. Wear long underwear, sweaters, and even hats indoors. Remember the days of “sleeping caps”? They make sense! Yes, wear a cap or hat to keep your head warm. If you’re headed outside, cover your face with a scarf.

“I can’t imagine surviving cold weather, inside or out, without a stretchy fleece neck warmer. I have several and I put one on when watching television or reading to avoid turning up the thermostat…”

-Mary Jane Taylor, Tahoe City, California

Keep Your Feet Warm and Dry

Have a few pairs of soft, cozy socks and use house slippers. Ones with a rubber sole add extra insulation. For the outdoors it really helps to insert foam liners into your boots to give your toes an extra layer. Warm feet and hands really do help you sleep better. So, whether it’s socks or a warm tub, make sure your feet aren’t frozen when you get in bed or you’ll have a hard time falling asleep. See this post on warm feet, better sleep.

Heat Up Your Bed

Use a (safe) electric blanket or heating pad that turns itself off. An even cheaper and safer option may be a hot water bottle with a wool or fleece cover. You can also use rice or flax seeds. Put them in a fleece cover and heat them up in the microwave.

Harness the Sun

During the day, open the blinds and curtains on the south-facing windows—and let in the warming sunlight. At night, close the blinds and curtains to better insulate your home.

Keep the Kitchen Cozy

Heat a cast iron pot of water on the stove. This increases the humidity in the room. Embrace warm, hot drinks and stews. Use your oven and crock pot so you have warm meals to look forward to and readily available.

Eat Warming Foods

Certain foods like sweet potatoes and other root vegetables take more energy for your body to digest and raises your body temperature.

Block Drafts, Use Rugs and Optimize Ceiling Fans

Use blankets or pillows to seal off doors, and cover windows. Keep floors warm with rugs and make sure ceiling fans are running counterclockwise so they are pushing warm air down.

Stay Active

Get your body moving. Carefully taking stairs or doing housework will do. Any activity will raise your core body temperature and help keep you warm.

How to Stay Fed

Wintertime usually brings to mind happy thoughts of holiday meals spent with family, but things can turn dreary in an instant. Especially in our neck of the woods where it isn’t uncommon for several feet of snow to drop in one night. When that happens being prepared is essential to living. Follow these tips to ensure you are prepared.

Sign Up with Sierra Senior Services

Sierra Senior Services is the Meals on Wheels provider for seniors living in the Truckee, North Lake Tahoe community. To see if you are eligible for our services visit our website at:

Stock Your Pantry

If the weather is preventing you from receiving food, it’s essential that you have shelf-stable food on hand. While Sierra Senior Services will distribute pantry items to you and deliver meals in advance of a storm, seniors should still have basic pantry items stocked for emergencies. Consider the following items:

Bottled water (at least one gallon per person per day, for at least three days)

Canned goods, especially cozy, warming foods like soups and stews with pull tabs to open

Snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies in sealed packages

Cereal and granola

Anything jarred, from jellies to pickles to meats

Canned tuna and salmon

Peanut butter and other shelf-stable nut butters, a vegan-friendly source of protein

Dried pasta and jarred sauce

Wax-sealed hard cheeses

Salted butter, which lasts longer at room temperature than unsalted butter

Dried fruit



Energy bars

Shelf-stable juice

Coffee, tea and hot cocoa mix (and maybe some marshmallows)

Extra paper products like toilet paper and paper towels

Local Resources – Who to Call

Knowing who to call in any situation is half the battle. Use the resources below to evaluate who the correct contact is in any given situation.

Dial 911 – For Life Threatening Situations

An emergency is any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, bleeding), any type of fire (business, car, building), any life-threatening situation (fights, person with weapons, etc.) or to report crimes in progress. Do not dial 911 for a non-emergency.

Local Connection Point for Community Services

There is help available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you call the number for your county, you will be routed to an authorized service provider specific to Nevada County and Placer County.  Callers can get connected instantly and find resources for Covid, Food, Disability Services, Mental Health, Housing, Health and Dental and more. In a non-emergency situation, these are the number to call:

Placer Country – (833) 342-5211

Nevada Country – (833) 342-5211

Washoe Country – (866) 535-5654

Tune in to Local Radio

In the event of a local emergency the Town of Truckee will provide information to the community in a number of ways. Tune to the local radio stations 1670 AM101.5 FM – KTKE, or 780 AM – KOH for late breaking news. Truckee is within the Sacramento and Reno TV broadcast area, and stations from both areas will broadcast Emergency Alerts. In addition, the National Weather Service weather radio may be used.


Whether its fire, flood, earthquake, highway closure or winter storm, it will set your mind at ease to know what’s going on. Sign up for Nixle alerts to stay in the know. The Truckee fire team use Nixle as their primary emergency alert notification system. When an evacuation is ordered, information is sent through Nixle and arrives on your device as an alert. To join, text 96161 to 888777

Download the Sierra Seniors’ Emergency Preparedness Guide

Sierra Senior Services is the local Meals on Wheels provider covering the Greater Truckee/Lake Tahoe region. We provide home-delivered meals, and can make referrals for additional support services that empower seniors to continue living independently. Sierra Senior Services is a California 501-(c)-3 Non-profit Corporation · Tax ID 68-0484075 Contribute today!


Old Farmer’s Almanac. “How to Keep Warm in Winter.” Old Farmer’s Almanac, 28 Dec. 2020,

“Snow Storm Essentials Checklist: How to Stock Up.” How to Stock Up | Direct Energy,