By Jarrod Heil
15 Tips to Be Prepared for a Winter Storm
Winter storms can strike with fierce intensity. They’re known to bring extreme cold, snow, ice and freezing rain to a large area for an extended period. The most ferocious winter storms knock down or freeze powerlines, cutting off electricity to homes, closing roads and leaving people and their homes vulnerable to the substantially cold weather lurking outside.
Many people underestimate the power of winter storms and are unprepared to deal with the consequential weather that follows, putting themselves, their family and their home at risk.
Before any winter storm hits, it’s important to put a plan in place. Creating a plan for you and your family will put you one step ahead of any winter storm, especially if the worst-case scenario winds up happening. Your plan should include an evacuation route and destination if the power goes out and your home becomes too cold to live in.
What Should I Do Before a Winter Storm?
1. Gather water and non-perishable food items, like canned meat and fruits, that will last you and your family at least a week.
2. Get a battery-powered radio so you can listen to weather updates as the storm nears your area.
3. If you plan to build a fire in an interior fireplace, make sure you have enough dry firewood to heat your home for at least a week.
4. Prepare an emergency safety kit that contains bandages, burn treatments and other related first-aid supplies, as well as batteries, flashlights and other useful items.
5. Before the storm hits, turn up the heat in your house for a few hours in case you’re left with no electricity or heat after the storm dissipates.
6. If you have the time and means to store a generator, buy a generator to restore your home’s electricity and heat if the winter storm cuts off your power.
7. Make sure your home roof insulation is properly keeping cold air out and warm air inside your home.
8. Check your water pipe insulation to make sure your pipes are protected against the harshness of cold weather.
9. Last but certainly not least, snow and ice melt at the end of the season, so you may want to purchase flood insurance if you live in a flood-prone area.
What Should I Do During a Winter Storm?
If you’ve been blasted by a winter blizzard that has cut off power supplies and closed roads, your home may be susceptible to elements that could damage or destroy your pipes and put you and your family in danger. The following steps can be taken to help alleviate the effects of a winter storm:
10. Keep each faucet on and trickling water to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
11. If you’re operating a generator, do so safely outside your home away from any doors or windows so carbon monoxide doesn’t enter your home.
12. Avoid opening any windows and doors to keep the warm air in and the cold weather out.
13. Break out the battery-powered radio and listen to any updates about the winter storm.
14. Refrain from using candles that may cause a house fire and use battery-powered lights instead.
15. If matters become worse and your home is too cold to remain in, go to a local shelter that has working heat and electricity.
Be sure to contact your Universal agent immediately to file a claim if your home has been affected by a winter storm.