It’s that time of year again. We've already seen a few dustings, so now is the time to make sure you and your family are prepared for when it really starts to snow. One of the primary concerns is a blizzard that knocks out heat, power and communication services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Here are some ideas of ways to prepare for a winter storm.
Household emergency supplies should include enough food, water and supplies to last four days without power. Following is a basic checklist of items:
- Food that doesn't require heating or refrigeration such as canned meats, soups and stews, cereal and energy bars
- 1 gallon of water per person per day
- Flashlights and batteries
- Battery-powered radio and clock
- Cellular phone
- First-aid kit
- Prescription medicines
- Blankets and cold-weather clothing
- Heating fuel in case you become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources are cut off
Before traveling this winter, make sure your car is winter ready. Road conditions can change in an instant and the following items could be useful:
- Bag of sand, road salt or non-clumping cat litter to spread under slipping tires
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Small shovel to dig snow away from tires
- Tire chains
- Flares or reflective triangle to warn other motorists if you break down
- Flashlight and batteries
- Gallon jug of drinking water
- First aid kit
And don’t forget your pets. Here are some tips from the Humane Society:
- If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
- Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.
- Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
And the last important step in winter preparedness is to make a family communication plan. If your family is not together, it will be important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
For more winter preparedness ideas, take a look at the Winter Storm preparedness section of redcross.org: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm