Winter Storm Preparation Checklist
Winter Storm Preparation Checklist
When winter weather approaches it’s important to make sure our homes and businesses are prepared for the possibility of a severe winter storm. From heavy snowfall to freezing rain or high winds, winter storms can not only cause damage but disrupt our lives. By taking time to prepare, you can help minimize the impact of winter storms on and ensure the safety of your family, friends, and or customers. Here is a brief winter storm checklist to help you prepare for winter storm emergencies.
Create a Winter Storm Emergency Kit
A great first step for preparing for any heavy snow or blizzard conditions is to create an emergency winter storm kit. Keeping this kit separate from your normal household supplies is an important step. This is because it makes sure you have supplies to be used only in case of emergency.
You can customize the kit to your liking, but it should contain at least the following essentials to fully prepare your home:
Food and Water
Stock up on non-perishable food items like canned goods, granola bars, and peanut butter that can last you several days, just in case you’re stranded due to winter weather. And make sure you have enough water for each person in your household—a minimum of 1 gallon per day for 3 days. Don’t forget your pets! Be sure to include pet food and water for them in your winter storm kit, too.
Batteries and Flashlights
Winter storms can cause power outages, leaving you in the dark, so it’s important to have batteries on hand to power flashlights. And speaking of flashlights, make sure you have at least one for each person in your household. Candles are another good option for lighting but it’s important to remember you use them safely. Never leave candles unattended—and keep them away from flammable objects like curtains and furniture.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is always a good idea to have on hand—but it’s especially important during winter storms when accidents can happen and receiving emergency care can be difficult. Be sure to include bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers in your first aid kit. You may also want to include any necessary medications that you or someone in your household take on a regular basis.
Top Off Fuel Tank
Whether you’re a business owner with vehicles you use to operate your business or a homeowner with one or more cars in the driveway, make sure your gas tank is topped off with fuel. In the event of a power outage, a full gas tank can be a lifesaver. Not only will you be able to keep your car running, but you’ll be able to use your car to charge your phone or stay warm. A full tank can also help you evacuate to better shelter if necessary. Just be sure to stay off of icy roads unless necessary and only after the storm has passed. If you are someone who has a generator, keeping extra fuel on hand can also be a great idea. Not only can it help keep lights on, but it can keep essential household appliances fully operational for the duration of the storm.
The Importance of Prepping Your Fireplace Before Winter
A fireplace can be an excellent source of heat to combat cold temperatures and provide light during power outages. If necessary, a fireplace can even be used to melt snow, boil water or cook certain foods. Before using a fireplace be sure to take these steps to ensure you’re fully prepared:
Inspect Your Fireplace and Chimney
Have your chimney inspected every year to ensure there are no cracks or damage to the structure. You can also check the flue to ensure it is clear of any debris. If you have a gas fireplace, can also have it inspected by a professional to ensure it is operating safely and efficiently.
Clean Your Fireplace and Chimney
After inspection of your fireplace and chimney, it’s time to give them a good cleaning. Remove any ashes or debris from the fireplace. This will not only help prevent dangerous chimney fires, smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide poisoning but help to keep your fireplace operating safely.
Stock up on Firewood
The time to stock up on firewood is before winter storms. You’ll want to prepare your home with enough firewood to stay warm the entire winter season. Buying firewood in bulk can help save you money and hassle throughout the winter months. Be sure to store your firewood in a dry, covered area so it stays dry and ready to use.
Don’t Forget to Charge Your Devices Before a Storm
Staying connected to neighbors, family members, and the local authorities during winter weather is important for anyone. That’s why you’ll want to make sure your electronic devices are fully charged before a storm hits. From your phone to your laptop, having a charged device can mean the difference between being able to weather the storm and being left in the dark. It can also mean life or death. Should someone sustain a life-threatening injury, a heart attack, stroke, etc. you’ll need a properly charged device to call for emergency help.
Have a way to Stay Informed During and After a Storm
The best way to stay informed about winter storm conditions is to sign up for alerts from your local National Weather Service office. You can also follow them on social media or check their website for your regional forecasts. Additionally, many local news stations offer regular updates on the latest conditions. Lastly, you can download a mobile app like Weather Underground or The Weather Channel to get real-time updates on conditions in your area.
Should You Stay Inside During a Winter Storm?
Staying inside is one of the best ways to stay safe during a winter storm. It not only keeps you and your loved ones safe, but it keeps first responders and those working to clear the storm safe as well as roads open and free of accidents. Keeping pets indoors is also important to remember. They need extra protection against icy weather and the cold.
If you must venture outside, dress in layers. They help keep your body temperature regulated and can help to prevent frostbite and or hypothermia. Keep a close eye on the windchill too. If the air feels even colder due to strong winge you’ll want to dress even warmer.
Don’t Forget to Help Others
It’s important to remember we’re not the only ones who can be affected by a winter storm. There are ways you can help others once you’ve ensured the safety of yourself and your family:
- Check on your elderly or disabled neighbors. Check and see if their power is out or if they need food or water. If their home is damaged, you may also want to see if they need help clearing debris.
- Clear debris from streets and sidewalks. Shoveling snow or using rock salt on ice will help make sure everyone can get around safely.
- Arrange professional snow and ice removal. Hiring a professional in advance can help to minimize your extended exposure to winter weather. If you’re part of an HOA you can ask what services are covered under the contract and what you’re responsible for.
- Donate money or extra clothing to reputable charities. When brutal winter storms hit and your community members are severely impacted some charities may offer assistance to those in most need. Making donations can help those affected by the storm or extreme cold.
- Volunteer at a local shelter. Local shelters are usually appreciative of the extra hands to help with things like cooking, cleaning, and providing comfort to those who are displaced.
Best Way to Prepare for a Blizzard – Check off the Items on Your Checklist!
We’ve provided you with a general winter storm checklist. By taking time now to get ready for winter storms, you can help minimize the impact they have. If you’re still looking for additional preparation methods, the Center for Disease Control also has a comprehensive list of other ways to make sure you’re prepped and ready for the next big storm. From preparing an emergency kit to knowing where to go for up-to-date information, there are many things we can do to get ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way!
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