National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Outdoor Safety

The winter months can pose many hazards to those who choose to venture outdoors. With many outdoor activities available in Minnesota and Wisconsin during the winter season, you should be aware of how to keep yourself safe from the cold, ice and snow

Basic Safety Tips

  • Avoid overexertion, including when shoveling snow
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Keep yourself and your clothes dry
  • Watch for frostbite, and seek medical attention immediately if symptoms are present


What to Wear

  • Dress warmly in loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing
  • Wear a hat. Most body heat is lost through the top of your head
  • Wear mittens that are tight at the wrist
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf

Ice Safety

  • Remember that there is no such thing as "100% safe ice" on a frozen lake or pond
  • Guidelines for minimum ice thickness: 4 inches for walking and ice fishing, 5 inches for snowmobiling, 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup, 12-15 inches for a medium-sized truck.
  • Keep children away from ice-covered ponds and streams
  • For more information, see

Snowmobile Safety

The above recommendations are based on information courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Please contact the following for further information:

Minnesota DNR Information Center
500 Lafayette Road
St Paul, MN  55155
(651) 296-6157 or (888) MINNDNR