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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Be Prepared for the Next Winter Storm With These Tips!

1/5/2022 (Permalink)

Winter storm safety tips Before the next winter storm arrives, get your car's antifreeze levels, battery, ignition system, exhaust system, heater, lights, and oil checked.

Winter storms can bring not only a lot of snow, but also bitterly cold temperatures, strong gusts, freezing rain, and ice. They can bring down trees, make roads and pathways extremely unsafe, and produce power outages that linger for days. Schools and daycare facilities may be closed as a result of the disruption to public transit. Winter storms also increase the likelihood of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks.

That's why, with winter storm season in full swing, knowing how to protect yourself, your family, and your house safe is essential.

Here are some things you can do now to prepare for the impending storm.

1. Make sure you have enough food in your pantry.

Because it's critical to stay indoors and avoid traveling during a winter storm, making sure you're well-stocked on food is critical. Many non-perishable things should be in your pantry so that you don't have to worry about anything deteriorating if you lose electricity. Ideally, you should have enough food to last at least three days.

2. Buy Bottled Water

Make sure you have plenty of bottled water on hand in case your pipes freeze and you can't get water from the tap. You may also require water for brushing your teeth, cleaning dishes, flushing toilets, or bathing if your pipes freeze. You can also prepare ahead of time by filling the bathtub, jugs, bottles, and other containers with water.

3. Get your prescriptions filled and hygiene items picked up

Make sure all of your prescription drug prescriptions are filled so that you have enough on hand to last at least three days, if not a week. This eliminates the need to rush to the pharmacy when the roads are poor. 

You should also stock up on any hygiene products you may require, like as diapers, toilet paper, tampons, and toothpaste. Picking up moist toilet paper can also be beneficial if water is scarce.

4. Check your tools and stock up on ice melt.

Ice melt salt sells out quickly in local stores just before a storm, so start buying up early to ensure you have enough for after the storm. You'll need enough to shovel and salt all of your outside stairs, stoops, and walkways immediately following the storm, before the snow melts and turns to ice as the temperature drops. 

Before the storm hits, make sure you have a good snow shovel (or two). Make sure they aren't too worn or cracked, as this will only complicate your life. You'll also want to make sure your tool kit is up to date and simple to locate, since you may need a wrench or pliers to quickly turn off utilities.

5. Be Prepared For A Power Outage

Charge your cell phones in advance of the storm, and have some portable battery backups available in case the power goes out. It's also a good idea to keep flashlights or battery-powered lights around the house so you don't have to waste time looking for them. 

If you live in a region where power outages are common, you should consider purchasing a generator, either a portable or a standby one for your home. If you have a portable generator, make sure you have enough gasoline or propane before the storm to operate it whenever and for as long as you need it. Always use portable models outside, away from windows, and never use them indoors or in confined locations like garages, crawl spaces, or basements.

6. Take Care of Your Water Pipes

Allow cold water to flow from faucets supplied by exposed pipes to help prevent frozen pipes. Running water, even at a trickle, is less likely to freeze. Allow warm air to circulate near plumbing by opening cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom. Pipe insulation should be added to any pipes that are prone to freezing. Maintain a temperature of no less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit inside your home.

7. Make sure your windows and doors are well-sealed.

Drafty windows and doors let chilly air in while letting warm air out. That's why it's a good idea to use an insulation kit from any hardware shop to seal any windows. Weatherstripping can also be purchased at the store to improve the seal on your front door. 

Insulated blinds are also available to help keep the warm air inside the house.

8. Inspect and replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors if necessary.

Make that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are still operational. It's advisable to replace them with detectors that work during a power outage if they aren't already battery-powered or battery-backed to keep your family safe.

9. Get Your Backyard Ready

Take a trip around your yard before the storm to check for any tree limbs that could fall on your house. If you have the ability, you should prune those back to prevent them from causing damage to your property during the storm – or hire someone to do it for you. 

If any tree branches are near power lines, you should get them trimmed or chopped back by a professional or the utility to assist reduce the danger of a power outage. 

Mulch your gardens, if you haven't already, to protect plants that you don't want to freeze.

10. Get Your Car Ready

Before the next winter storm arrives, get your car's antifreeze levels, battery, ignition system, exhaust system, heater, lights, and oil checked. 

Then, in case you're trapped in your automobile due to the blizzard, prepare your car with items you might require. Blankets, water, chains, jumper cables, ice scrapers, maps, bottle water, warm clothing, non-perishable snacks, and a first-aid kit should all be in your car. It's also a good idea to have some sand or kitty litter on hand in case you get stranded in the snow or ice.

11. Keep yourself up to date

Listen to your NOAA weather radio for hazardous weather alerts and warnings. Always keep an eye on the weather forecast, whether it's on the internet or on your phone. Sign up for emergency alerts and updates in your area. 

In the event of an emergency, know how to cut off your utilities, such as gas lines. 

Before the storm strikes, do some research on nearby shelters and warming centers, and establish a plan for where to go and how to get there if you need to leave your house in an emergency. 

Also, be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite, and be prepared to check on your neighbors, particularly if they are elderly or have young children who are more vulnerable to the cold.

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