CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois health officials say even though the official start of winter is weeks off, it’s time to prepare for severe winter weather.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is calling this week “Winter Storm Preparedness Week.”

Dr. Craig Conover is the acting director state health department. He says it’s critical to take action in advance.

One of the top tips is creating emergency kits for homes and vehicles that include flashlights, non-perishable food, blankets, extra batteries and first-aid supplies.

Health officials say it’s also a good time to winterize homes and keep an extra supply of heating fuel for homes.

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