How to prepare for a Winter Storm
Our homes provide protection from the elements, but we still need to be diligent to keep our families safe during winter storms. Here are some tips to beat off any Winter Headache Issues.
During the winter, then a highly functioning furnace and hot water heater are vital to keeping our home and families warm. The pipes and vents that move air and water throughout the house are equally important.
- Insulate Pipes… Many people look to insulate their pipes as part of the winterization process, but it is important to prepare the pipes for the worst case scenario with snow storms approaching. To insulate pipes, then find a covering that protects your hand from the hot pipe and keeps the heat within the pipe.
- If a pipe does burst, then know where the main water valve is located so you can shut off the water supply and call a pro to help.
- Heat Pipes to Keep Water Flowing… In the event that pipes freeze, then it is important to warm them up so no further damage to your home occurs. There are a variety of heat sources that can get the job done:
- “Use a hair dryer, heat lamp, electric heat tape to thaw frozen pipes that have not burst.”
Further, to help reduce the chance of pipes freezing, then they should be used continuously throughout the winter.
Although it may seem like a waste, let water trickle from any faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces. The amount of water that will flow through the pipes is very small compared to a burst pipe. Consider keeping your toilets flowing as well.
Additionally, because water is so vital to safety, be sure to save some water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Eating snow is a dangerous way to hydrate, and can lead to a case of hypothermia.
Taking precautions to prepare pipes for winter helps ensure the safety of the inside of our homes. There are also a few ways to keep the outside of our homes safe during storms as well.
- De-Ice or Pay the Price… For those homeowners that need to shovel, then ice melt is almost a miracle worker. Finding ways to de-ice your driveway, steps and walkways is very important to keep your property safe. There are ice melt solutions in the store or you can make your own with basic household materials.
Many people associate de-icer solutions with breaking up ice on car windshields. While that is true, apply the same solution to your shovels to help prevent the snow from sticking.
For another easy DIY de-ice recipe, then simply combine rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle and you are on your way. Vinegar and water also work.
Driving in the snow is pretty dangerous. Many people take precaution and the roads remain fairly safe. Like driving in the snow, it is always a good idea to proceed with caution.
Embrace Emergency Kits… Emergency kits should be in every car. The basics include:
- Blanket and/or Sleeping Bag
- Flashlight with Extra Batteries
- Flares and/or Reflective Triangles
- First Aid Kit
- Extra winter clothes (hats, scarves, gloves)
- Non-Perishable Snacks (granola bars) and Bottled Water
The good thing about emergency kits is simple – they don’t go bad (maybe double check the extra batteries each year). They act a little like insurance; you don’t need them until you need them.
Subtle Safety Strategies… Emergency kits are great, but what about those snowstorms that develop during work hours? Here are a couple of ingenious ways to ensure you can get into your car and get home safely:
- Use Hand Sanitizer on Your Door Lock – the alcohol works to melt the ice that covers the lock (a match or lighter works as well)
- Apply Shaving Cream Inside your Windows – the active ingredients in shaving cream are similar to commercial de-foggers, so apply a layer and wipe it clean every so often during the winter.
- Keep Cat Litter in the Car – whether you have a cat or not, keep a bag in your car because it helps absorb moisture overnight and doubles as extra traction if you are stuck in some ice.
They may have a nice, warm fur coat but they are still susceptible to these winter conditions. Help make them safe as well! Fresh water and plenty of food. Provide some sort of refuge from the cold. Even if you have to bring them in, it is only for a day or two. They will love you and everyone will be safe.
Here are some helpful articles about getting prepared…
Be Ready for the Next Winter Storm with a Family Emergency Communication Plan
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) How to Prepare for a Winter Storm Guide includes a preparedness checklist, tips to stay healthy and warm, and a winter weather check for your car. There are also actions to protect your home and reduce property damage.