These could be the last decent days of weather, at least here in central Ohio, old man winter is going to rear his head this weekend, and will probably be here to stay. We’ve discussed ways to stay warm in the winter before, but today we want to give some tips on preparing for a winter storm.
What to Prepare Before….WAY Before
- Make sure you have a 3 day supply of water (3 gallons per person) and easy to prepare food. Here is my favorite 72 hour no-prep food kit.
- Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio so you can stay aware of the situation if your other communication sources are cut off. Make sure it is battery operated adn that you have extra batteries.
- Make sure you have a good shovel. You may need to dig yourself out before help gets there. Or you simply may need to dig out your car!
- Purchase a supply of flashlights (with batteries) and candles.
- Clean and inspect your chimney if you have one. Make sure you have a supply of wood.
- Make sure you have an ample supply of blankets. If you power goes out, you will need as many as you can get!
- Clear rain gutters and repair roof leaks.
- Have an alternate way of cooking. A small “camp stove” works well for short term emergencies. You may also consider a butane stove, or this quickfire stove etc. Make sure that whatever you choose that you have enough fuel. Cook in a well ventilated garage (like with the door open) to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increasing during winter storms as people turn to alternate heat sources.
- Learn how to care for frostbite and hypothermia. Make sure you click on those links and print those out NOW in case your power goes out during a storm.
- Weather strip any drafty doors or windows. ~ read more tips here
What to Prepare Before….Days Before
- Fill your gas tank. This will keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Check your supplies of flashlights, lanterns etc. Make sure they are easily accessible.
- Charge your cell phones and other electronics.
- Pull out any generators / large battery backups that you have. DO NOT use a gas generator indoors.
- Check antifreeze levels in your car.
- Make sure all adults in your house know how to shut of your main water valve in case your pipes burst. ~ Days before tips
What to do During:
- If temperatures are extremely low (below 25 Fahrenheit), turn on every faucet so that it is just barely dripping. This will cost you a bit more in your water bill, but save you an expensive and time consuming mess if your pipes freeze.
- Open kitchen and sink cabinets to allow warmer water to circulate around the pipes. You can also wrap them in newspaper to help insulate them.
- Keep your thermostat set as high during the night as you have it during the day to avoid pipes freezing.
- Avoid driving. If you must drive, make certain you have emergency supplies in your car.
- Keep your radio nearby and listen for updates.
- Stay Dry! Change your clothes immediately if you get wet.
- Use Flashlights before candles to avoid the risk of house fire.
- If your pipes freeze, warm them with a hair dryer. If you do not have power, wrap them in rags. Then, open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold.
- Use WD-40 on your snow shovel to make shoveling easier.
- If the power goes out, put towels at the bottoms of doors that have gaps and cover single paned or drafty windows with blankets. Close doors to un-needed rooms.
- Again, if your power is out, especially for an extended time, dress in layers. Put on tights and / or long underwear if you have it as the bottom layer and then add on more loose fitting, light weight clothing in lots of layers after that. Mittens are warmer than gloves. End with a tight pair of warm socks and a hoodie. Keeping your head and feet warm is essential. You can also cover your mouth with a scarf. Also, EAT! This will help your body produce more heat. ~ more tips for during the storm
You can never be too prepared for cold weather. We never really know when it will hit us or how long it will last.