Winter storms can be dangerous, especially with extreme cold temperatures, strong winds, and freezing rain. If you’re not careful and unlucky, you could end up stranded at home for days without electricity or, even worse, caught up in a car accident on an icy road.
You can’t decide whether you’ll be lucky during the next snowstorm, but you can at least get ready for it the best you can.
These 11 tips on preparing for a winter storm will help you and your family face the next one.
1. Prepare an emergency kit or upgrade it
Do you have an emergency kit? If you do, take a moment to review it to ensure it still contains everything you might need in an emergency.
If you don’t have an emergency kit, prepare one in a backpack or a small suitcase. Fill it up with non-perishable food, water, batteries, candles and matches, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a blanket, a can opener, and any item you judge necessary for your household.
2. Stock up on food
It’s a good idea to stock up on food before a winter storm since it could be difficult to go to the store right after the storm.
Focus on non-perishable items in case you don’t have any power in your home for a couple of days. You should also get plenty of fruits that aren’t needed in the refrigerator.
3. Stock up on water as well
There’s a possibility that your pipes might freeze if it gets really cold. You should get bottled water, but you should also fill jugs or bottles, and possibly even your bathtub, with tap water.
This way, no matter what happens, you’ll have water to cook, do the dishes, brush your teeth, and flush the toilet.
4. Get some ice-melt salt
Some cities can prepare for a winter storm by applying liquid de-icer on the roads before ice can form on their surface. Others will ensure they have enough ice-melt salt to apply on icy roads to help make them safer.
As for you, you should stock up on ice melt salt or the de-icer of your choice. It’s important to make sure your driveway, walkway, stoop, and outdoor stairs are not slippery.
5. Head to the pharmacy to fill your prescriptions
If you need prescription medication, or if someone in your household does, you should visit the pharmacy ahead of the storm so you can fill your prescriptions.
This is also a good time to ensure you have all the personal hygiene items you might need, whether baby diapers, toilet paper, or toothpaste.
6. Consider insulating your windows and doors
Of course, you don’t need to insulate your home before each winter storm. But if some spots in your home feel drafty, take a moment to seal any cracks you notice around your windows and doors.
Getting an insulation kit for your windows is another good way to help prevent cold air from getting in.
7. Take measures to protect your water pipes
If extremely cold temperatures are expected, you should take some measures to protect your water pipes. Pipes in basements, crawlspaces, and garages are particularly prone to freezing during a cold winter storm.
Let some cold water trickle from your faucets, which should help keep your pipes from freezing. You can also open your kitchen and bathroom cabinets to circulate warm air around these pipes.
8. Charge all your devices and stock up on batteries
Be sure to fully charge your phone and any mobile device before the storm. Stock up on batteries since you will probably need them if there is a power outage.
9. Consider getting a generator
You might consider getting a residential generator if your area has regular power outages.
Whenever the power goes out during a storm, your generator will allow you to keep your lights on and, above all, to keep your major appliances running.
10. Make sure your car is ready
You should ideally stay at home during a winter storm and only use your car in case of an emergency.
So, just in case you must go out, ensure your car is in good condition and equipped with everything you might need to face icy and snowy roads and cold weather.
11. Speak with your loved ones
Finally, if you know someone who lives alone or has mobility issues, speak with them to see if you can help them prepare for the next winter storm.
Ensure your loved ones know that a winter storm is coming and that they will stay informed and safe.