Winter arrives with fanfare as Christmas, Chanukah and New Year’s Eve all take place within days of the first day of the season. Parties and shopping may distract people from the weather around them, but after resolutions are made and the decorations are packed away, it’s not long before it’s time to confront winter’s wrath.
Storms are commonplace in January and February in many parts of the world, and even March storms are not unheard of. Knowing how to prepare for storms can keep people safer and prevent home damage. If a storm is forecasted, follow these guidelines.
· Charge a mobile phone and other electronic devices to full battery in advance of the storm in case power goes out.
· Stock the home with extra batteries for flashlights and battery-powered devices, such as a portable radio.
· Invest in a car charger to charge devices if the power is out for some time.
· Keep a supply of canned or boxed nonperishable items, as well as convenience foods that do not need to be cooked, like granola bars.
· Periodically check to ensure that the first aid kit is stocked with items that have not expired.
· Refill medications so that they are on hand in the event weather makes it challenging to get to the store.
· Keep emergency supplies of bottled water. If you forget this, fill the bathtub up with fresh water. Extra water will be needed for toilet flushing if yours is a septic system.
· Have warm blankets on hand and sleeping bags for each person in the home.
· Unplug all electronic devices if the power goes out to protect against a surge and damage when the power is restored.
· Exercise caution when burning candles, opting for flashlights and lanterns instead.
· If it’s very cold outside, move refrigerated and frozen items outdoors so they do not spoil in an unpowered refrigerator.
· Do not use gas stoves, charcoal grills or other open-flame heat sources for warmth indoors. Carbon monoxide gas can build up inside and prove deadly.
· Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a backup generator for power.
· Stock up on gasoline for vehicles and to power gas-driven generators.
· Use power company websites and apps to report outages and stay apprised of restoration status.
· Be cautious of downed power lines in the area when driving or walking.
Winter storms can be beautiful but dangerous without ample preparation.
Image by Else Siegel