I went to the Red Cross site to see what helpful bits of information they had since they are the masters. If you are in the midst of preparing for a storm or in the middle of one right now, my prayers are with you, please stay calm and safe.
How to Prepare for a Winter Storm
- Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
These four steps are great for preparing your vehicle, home and be as prepared as you can. You can also make sure to leave your water dripping if you tend to have issues with your pipes freezing.
You can add more insulation to your home little by little. It can be an expensive home renovation, but it is totally worth it. If you have leaky windows, feel free to cover them with plastic to help the cold creeping in.
Put Together a Supply Kit
- Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
- Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
- Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members
- Ample alternate heating methods such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves
Now you don’t have to use all of these items to prep for a storm. These are steps I do as I prep for a storm heading in. Especially with medicine and things like that. If you get snowed in you don’t want to run out of supplies.
I also always make sure to have a good amount of canned foods on hand. Then buy an old school can opener in case you lose power. That way you can still access food.
Remaining Safe During a Winter Storm
- Listen to an NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information on snowstorms and blizzards from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snowdrifts, ice or other obstacles.
- Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.
- Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
- Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.
- Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
- Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
No matter where you live if you experience a snowstorm or even ice storm this is important to be aware of. Winter storms can be a matter of life or death. If you are not ready or can withstand the storm it can leave you feeling a mess.
Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills (this is very important!! My family suffered a tragic loss many years ago due to carbon monoxide)
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
- If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
- Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrives to assist you.
I highly recommend making sure checking batteries in your carbon monoxide alarms. it is important that they will help to prevent you from a tragedy. Carbon monoxide is a gas that doesn’t leave a smell. So it is very easy to find you’re having a carbon monoxide leak in your home without even knowing it.
Don’t wait till an accident happens, invest in an alarm and place one or more in your home. Depending on the size of your home.
- Frostbite and hypothermia are two dangerous and potentially life-threatening emergencies. Learn how to care for these emergencies by taking a first aid class.
Thank you Red Cross for keeping us all prepared. Please stay in, stay safe, enjoy some family time and most of all keep your sense of humor in the midst of all you worry.