No matter where you live, you’re likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in your life. That could mean snow or subfreezing temperatures, as well as strong winds or even ice or heavy rain storms. One of the primary concerns is a storm’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home sometimes for days at a time. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.
General maintenance is important. It's time to sweep the walks and deck, put away porch furniture, close up swimming pools. Check each window, close storm windows and store your screens. Clean the gutters and pull the last of the summer weeds... All those little things that need to be done before you get a big winter storm. Once you've completed the general maintenance items lets address some things you might not have considered...
• Fill plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each one for the frozen water to expand. Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold for several hours if the power goes out.
• If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
• Back up computer files and operating systems. Consider buying extra batteries and a power converter if you use a laptop computer.
• Turn off all computers, monitors, printers, copiers, scanners and other electronic devices when they are not being used.
• Get a high-quality surge protector for your electronic equipment.
• If you have an electric garage door opener, find out where the manual release lever is located and learn how to operate it.
• Make a plan for alternate communication, including having a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone, radio or pager.
• Keep your car fuel tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power the pumps.
• Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) may not work during a power outage, so make sure you have extra cash at home.
• Get a Winter Emergency Supply Kit which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.
Prepare Your Family:
• KNOW the emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. What are the procedures for inclement weather? If school is released early who will pickup the kids? How will they get home?
Additional ways to prepare your home:
- Be able to seal off parts of your home either by closing doors, or sealing them with plastic if you lose your main heat and need to heat just one room or area you may need duct tape and plastic, Also be able to cover a window if a tree limb or some other item breaks a window during a storm.... DUCT TAPE & PLASTIC good things to have on hand!
• Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and windowsills to keep the warm air inside.
• Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
• Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
• Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
• Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
• Hire a contractor to check the structural stability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow - or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.