Winter Preparedness for You and Your Home
Old Man Winter waits for no one. Before cold weather arrives and delivers ice and snow at your doorstep, you can prepare in advance. There's nothing worse than waking up to minus 30-degree temperatures and feeling unprepared. Don't panic. Now is a good time to stock up on items for your home, wardrobe, and vehicles. Gather your winter supplies and stay a step ahead of severe winter weather.
What Are Essential Must-Haves for Your Home?
Having shelter and heat is the bottom line for surviving the long, freezing winter. Keep these items on hand before a storm arrives, as inventories deplete quickly once bad weather arrives.
- Generator: Power lines can malfunction due to an ice storm, wind, or heavy snow. It's possible you may be without electricity for several days. For your safety, you should operate a generator a minimum of 15 feet from your home to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. A 5,000-watt generator can power a refrigerator, a few lights, and keep your computers and other electronic devices powered. The equipment also powers your water pump, so you can keep your running water during the outage.
- Snow Blower: A storm leaves behind piles of snow and ice. A snow blower goes through a foot or more of snow without you having to lift a shovel. The self-propelled machinery blows snow to the side to clear a path for walking or driving your vehicle. Available in one, two, and three-stage models, they use gas or electrical power. Larger snow blowers go through both snow and ice.
- Space Heaters: On the coldest of days, portable space heaters provide additional heating, and you can move them from room to room. The heaters can use kerosene, propane, electricity, or gas for power, and most include an automatic shut-off, thermostat, carrying handle, and other useful features.
- Additional Preparedness Supplies: Other emergency must-haves include heated blankets, snow shovels and rakes, and extra food.
How Do You Stay Warm When You're Outside Braving the Cold?
Before going outside, keep on top of the wind chill forecast, which can reduce the temperature by 10 degrees or more. Heavily insulated coats, matching scarves and hats, knee socks, and gloves insulate your extremities and protect your body from hypothermia. Boots with built-in insulation cradle your feet in warmth. Make sure to purchase warm wide-leg pants to fit overtop winter footwear. In addition to outerwear, wear long underwear, a mid-layer sweater, and a turtleneck top.
What Should You Purchase so Your Vehicle Is Ready for Winter Storms?
Always keep a car emergency kit on hand that contains jumper cables, flares, and reflectors. Never be without a flashlight and extra batteries and a spare blanket. So you aren't stranded, a set of chains that fit your tires can be a lifesaver when driving over frozen roadways. Additionally, make sure your winter survival kit includes an ice scraper, a bag of safety absorbents like litter for tire traction, and a foldable shovel.