If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow during the winter months, you know how important it is to prepare for big snow storms ahead of time. You may find yourself stuck at home, or worse in your car for long periods of time during a snow storm. The heavy snow can cause trees or large branches to fall and cut power lines. Here’s what you should do to make sure you’re not caught unaware by a blizzard.
Winterize Your Home And Car
At the beginning of the cold season make sure both your home and your car are ready for winter. Put on winter tires, fill up the antifreeze, and stock your car with a shovel, sand, snow chains, a warm blanket, and a bit of water and food. If you’d just like to buy a kit instead of making your own, this kit by GetReadyNow is pretty good. It does need a shovel and a blanket.
Make sure your home is well-insulated, your heating is in good working order, and you have an ample supply of heating fuel or firewood. Keeping some emergency water and food rations along with a battery operated weather radio and plenty of ways to stay warm is also a good idea (but you already knew that).
Pay Attention To Weather Forecasts
The good thing about winter storms these days is that meteorologists have gotten pretty good at predicting them well in advance. This gives you plenty of time to stock up on some supplies, get home safely, and hunker down to wait out the storm. Watch weather forecasts regularly throughout the colder months and set up storm alerts on your phone to give you plenty of time to prepare. You can download the ping4alerts! app to make this easier, but it does require location services to be enabled. I have an email in to them about just adding an address and running the app without location services turned on; I’ll update here when I hear back from them.
If you know a storm is coming, avoid traveling, particularly on the road. Waiting out a blizzard in your car is not a lot of fun and you may be stuck and trapped for hours if not days. Cancel travel plans and do what you can to get home before conditions get too bad.
If you do have to travel during a storm, make sure you gas tank is full and your car is well stocked with winter emergency supplies. Check on road conditions before you head out and pull over if things get too bad. You should also have a charged phone with you to call for help if you get stuck in a storm drift.
Stock Up On Food, Water, Heating Fuel, and Firewood
When there’s a lot of snow or an ice storm in the forecast, stock up on food, drinking water, and heating fuel and/or firewood. Have a plan for heating and preparing food if the power goes out. Having plenty of flashlights and candles is also a good idea. You may also want to make sure you have something non-tech for the kids to play with in case their (or your) phone/tablet/computer runs out of battery.
Wait out the storm and don’t be tempted to head out to clear off the roof. Should you fall and get hurt, emergency services may have no way of reaching you.
Take Care Of Your Animals
Remember to provide for the animals in your care as well. Dogs, cats, goats, poultry, cattle, horses – doesn’t matter; they all need a solid shelter to block the wind and keep at least some of the snow off of them during the storm. Remember to stock the shelter with hay (if appropriate) and some warm water. I use 5-gallon buckets with omega lids (love these lids!) to carry warm water from the house to the outside animals.