New England is bracing for the first major winter storm since October 2011.

The National Weather Service in Taunton says most of southern New England could get between 18 and 24 inches of snow starting Friday morning and continuing into Saturday afternoon.

Peter Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency says the strong winds could take trees and wires down, and he advises residents to be prepared for a potential power outage.

“Whether it’s simply getting flashlights and batteries and bottled water and non-perishable food and extra batteries for your portable radio- those sorts of things,” he said.

Judge says to take extra safety precautions with back-up power and alternate heating sources.

“If you’ve moved to the next level where you’ve got a generator in case you lose power-- make sure you know how to use it safely. Same thing with alternate heating, whether it’s your fireplace or woodstove that you haven’t used for a while—make sure that you will be using it safely.”

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency officials also are urging all residents to prepare for the storm. Anne-Marie Beardsworth of RIEMA says Rhode Islanders should get all supplies in order.

“Get your sand, your salt, your shovels ready to go, and make sure you have enough food and water for at least three days so if you should be without power you should still be able to stay at home.”