During winter storms, staying warm and safe can be difficult. Winter storms can bring cold temperatures, power failures, loss of communication services, and icy roads. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, you should know how to prepare before, during, and after a storm.
Here are some helpful tips that will keep you and your family safe during a winter storm:
Prepare Your Home
Before a storm, remove dead or rotting trees and branches around your home that could fall and cause injury or damage. Clear clogged rain gutters to allow water to flow away from your home. Melting snow and ice can build up if gutters are clogged with debris. To protect you from the cold, make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows to keep cold air out. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide insulation. Insulate your pipes to prevent them from freezing. Finally, clean and have your chimney or flue inspected if you have one.
Food & Water Is A Must
Have at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day for at least 3 days. Have at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food that requires no cooking or refrigeration and a can opener (that is a must-have tool). During a winter storm, eat regularly as food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Also, keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink liquids such as warm broth or juice. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as both can cause dehydration. If you have pets make sure you have food and water for them too. Here is a great checklist for pets from the ASPCA https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/files/preparedness_for_pets_sep_2015.pdf.
There is no doubt that staying warm during a winter storm is important to avoid hyperthermia or frostbite. If you have a fireplace or woodstove, consider keeping a supply of firewood or coal. Be sure the fireplace and other heat sources are properly vented and in good working order to prevent a fire. Make sure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements and are clean and in working order. Have plenty of blankets, warm coats, gloves, hats, water-resistant boots, and warm clothing for all your family members. Close off unused rooms, and stuff towels or rags in cracks under the doors. Cover the windows at night. Also, keep some blankets and warm clothes in your car in case you get stranded.
Emergency Radio With Extra Batteries
A reliable way to always stay informed during an emergency, especially when the power goes out, is with an all-hazards, battery-operated weather radio. Radio communication will always stay in operation, with reliable sources like your local radio stations and the NOAA Weather band. The NOAA weather band will keep you up to date on your local weather and some radios also include the NOAA Weather Alert that will alert you of weather emergencies. The C. Crane CC Solar Observer Emergency Radio or the CC Radio Solar are great emergency radios to have on hand. Both can be powered by hand crank, the built-in solar panel, or 3 AA alkaline batteries (not included). They both have AM, FM and the NOAA weather band, a built-in flashlight and can charge a cell phone, the CC Radio Solar will more easily charge a cell phone if the included rechargeable lithium-ion battery is at full charge.
Flashlight & Extra Batteries
Keep plenty of flashlights and batteries on hand in case of a power outage. Check your flashlights frequently especially if you keep batteries in them. After a while, batteries can leak acid and cause corrosion. Either remove the batteries from your flashlights or check them often to make sure they work. The Unity Plus LED Flashlight is a reliable flashlight to have in your emergency kit. It is lightweight, runs on 2 “C” batteries, and will give you up to 22 hours of usable light. The Unity Plus is rugged and is the perfect combination of power, size, and weight.
Carbon Monoxide & Fire Safety
The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires are much more common during winter storms as people turn to alternate heat sources. To keep your family safe from these dangers, make sure your home has working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and keep extra batteries on hand for them. Also, ensure you have fire extinguishers in your home and that everyone knows how to use them in case of a fire.
Emergency Tool Kit
Create a 72-hour emergency kit with the essentials for each family member including cash, duct tape (really – you’ll never be sorry you included duct tape), toilet paper, wet wipes, personal hygiene items, blankets or sleeping bags, children/Infant Items (if applicable – think diapers, wipes, formula, etc.), prescription medications including inhalers or allergy medication, clothing, bleach to clean mold as a result of a disaster, a fire starter that will help to start a fire to help keep you warm and large garbage bags that will serve a multitude of purposes such as a makeshift parka in the rain to actual shelter if necessary. Keep a wrench and pliers in your kit to turn off utilities like gas and water and know how to turn off the main power to your home. If it is within the budget, a heavy-duty chainsaw and generator can also be useful. Make sure you have a good shovel in case you need to dig yourself out.
Remember to always follow instructions from your local public safety officials. C. Crane is dedicated to helping you have the equipment necessary to communicate and function in times of emergency. Check out our complete line of emergency supplies by clicking here.
For more tips on how to prepare before, during, and after a winter storm, check out these resources: