Tips to Help You Prepare for Winter Weather

by Charlotte Purdy

Winter storms can bring snow, high winds, freezing rain and ice. They can cause downed trees, power outages that can last several days, or weeks, and make roads incredibly dangerous. With the winter storm season upon us, it is important that you take the necessary steps to keep yourself, your family and your home safe.

Although the supply chain has wreaked havoc on local businesses and caused shelves to be barren of products, you should stock up on items for your food pantry. Purchasing non-perishable items will keep your food items from spoiling should a power outage occur. Food items to have on hand include crackers, granola bars, canned soups, canned meats, instant coffee, peanut butter, bread, and grains. A variety of fruits such as oranges, apples or bananas are also great ideas, as they do not need refrigerating.

Winter weather also brings freezing air that causes water pipes to freeze, cutting off your access to tap water. Should your pipes freeze, you will want to ensure that you have plenty of bottled water for brushing your teeth, doing dishes, flushing toilets or bathing. Be sure to fill up jugs and bottles, and other containers, with water ahead of any winter storms and store them so you’ll be prepared. A minimum of three gallons per person in your household is advised.

Should temperatures be expected to drop to 28 degrees or below for 4 hours or more, let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. The running water, even if it is just a trickle, is less likely to freeze. No one wants their water pipes to burst! Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate near plumbing.

You also want to make sure you have filled your prescription medications and stocked up on any hygiene items you may need. Stocking up on toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, and toothpaste will ensure you do not need to travel during a winter storm. You may want to also pick up some baby wipes or moist toilettes in case water is in short supply.

Be sure to charge your electronics ahead of time and make sure you have portable battery backups on hand. For those without a generator, you will want to have extra batteries for flashlights and you may want to stock up on solar powered lights, just in case there is a power outage. Be sure to test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working and if you haven’t recently replaced the batteries in them, now is the time to do so.

If you must travel, be sure you have a full tank of gas and pack an emergency kit. The National Weather Service advises motorists to include phone chargers, blankets/sleeping bags, flashlight with extra batteries, first-aid kit, knife, high-calorie non-perishable food, extra clothing, toilet paper and paper towels, windshield scraper, tool kit, tow rope, booster cables, and more in their emergency kit.

Most importantly, stay informed of the weather and road conditions. Watch your local news station for weather updates and check road conditions before heading out on the roadways.

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