If your city or state put on a Winter Storm Warning, get prepared as soon as you can, because even though modern technology and meteorological forecasting are able to predict the storm, there’s never a way to be sure of exactly the magnitude that it’s going to be. According to the Red Cross, Winter storms can go from snow for a few hours to a blizzard with strong wind and intense snow that lasts for several days. This type of storm can also bring other dangers, like extremely low temperatures and all the complications that come with it. If a storm is really bad, not even salt trucks and snow plows can take care of the roads. Schools and offices close, grocery stores get emptied out, and not even driving is allowed in some cases. It’s impossible to control the weather, but you can get control over safety your home and family. Check out this guidelines to prepare yourself for the next Winter Storm.
Getting Prepared for a Winter Storm
1 Make sure your vehicle will be safe for driving. Keep the gas tank full in order to avoid freezing the fuel line.
2 Have your heating system in perfect working conditions. For this, you have to inspect and clean the heating equipments and chimneys at least once a year.
3 When you’re going to leave the house, don’t forget to keep the heater still on to maintain a comfortable temperature.
4 If possible, get storm windows installed or cover the windows with plastic, keeping the cold air outside.
5 Call your loved ones to inform them of the storm, in case they don’t know about it yet, and make sure they have everything they need.
6 Get HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioner) services quickly, making sure your heating system will be able to work perfectly and keep you warm during any blizzard.
7 Don’t forget about the pets! Have plenty of food and water stored for them and keep them inside the house with you with a bed of warm blankets.
8 Stuff towels under the doors to stop the wind from breaking in.
9 Buy food, water, tools and other supplies, including an emergency kit.
10 Separate clothes and blankets for everyone in your house, including the pets.
Putting together a supply and emergency kit:
- Water and food for at least 3 days (one gallon of water per day for every person and food that is easily to prepare, including snacks and canned food)
- Extra batteries
- Battery powered radio
- Fully charged cell phone (chargers and extra batteries, if possible)
- First aid kit
- Medication (enough for 7 days, for various uses, including the ones you already have to take daily)
- Personal hygiene and sanitation products
- Personal documents , cash and written emergency contact information
- Tools and supplies for home security
- Rock salt and sand to make walkways less slippery, as well as shovels
- Plenty of warm clothes, gloves, hats, boots, blankets (including in your car, in case you get stranded without heating)
- Fire extinguishers
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors (you should have this installed immediately for safety all year around. If it sounds, move to a location with fresh air or open a window quickly)
Car Survival Kit
I If you’re driving and get stranded on the road, the fuel may freeze and the battery die, leaving you in the cold with no heating system. The first rule is to never leave your car. It might be cold, but at least it’s a safe shelter. Don’t forget to check if the exhaust pipe is not packed with snow, otherwise, carbon monoxide might back up into the car and suffocate you. It’s important to run the motor for 10 minutes each hour.
Have at least these items in your car at all times:
Flashlight, batteries, flares and radio
Water and snacks
Blankets and warm clothes (mittens, hat, coats, socks, boots)
First aid kit
Bright colored towel or cloth, in case you need to sinalize your car when it gets covered with snow. The easiest way is to wrap it on the antenna of your car.
Fully charged cell phone and extra batteries
Fire starting kit (and fire extinguisher)
During a Snowstorm
The most dangerous part is if your house loses power, putting life at risk because of lack of heating. With the proper preparation for the storm, you’ll be able to stay inside and be fairly comfortable until it’s possible to go out again.
1 Warm up with blankets and several items of clothing to avoid frost bites and hypothermia.
2 To treat a frostbite, go to a warmer area and elevate the area affected. Remove any item of jewelry or clothing that might be stopping the blood flow. Heat it up with hot water. Go to the hospital as soon as you can.
3 Remember to eat and drink to keep yourself from being dehydrated
4 Running water may freeze in the pipes. Wrapping the interior pipes with foam insulation can help prevent that, also leave the faucets running at a slow drip if you notice the temperature is getting colder and colder.
5 Keep garage door and entrances closed.
6 If your house loses energy and it’s too cold, go to a local public shelter.
7 Avoid driving in bad conditions
8 Open cabinet doors in the bathrooms and kitchen, so the warm air can circulate near all the plumbing pipes.
9 Keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature, during the day and night.
10 It’s essential that all equipment that burn fuel have the proper ventilation to go outside.
Safety is priority during a winter storm, so, get prepared for any situation and go through it as smoothly and comfortably as possible. Remember to help others too, there’s several ways you can do this. After the blizzard passes, get the heating system inspected for any malfunctions, including other parts of the house that you may have found signs of damage. This way, your house will be safe and warm for not only any possible snow storm, but everything that Winter may bring.