Five ways to prepare for a blizzard
Blizzards and winter storms can quickly become dangerous. When the inches start piling up, travel becomes impossible, and in severe cases, many people are likely to lose power. Unprepared individuals will flock to the stores just before a storm is due to hit, clearing the shelves of kitchen staples and leaving others unable to get the things they need to make it through. Avoid being caught unaware by a winter storm this season by following our guide for proper blizzard preparation.
1. Stock up on essentials in advance.
While it can be tempting to wait until the last minute to go grocery shopping, know that many others will have the same idea. Essential supplies are likely to run out quickly. To avoid this, make sure you always have a three-day supply of nonperishable foods and bottled water during the winter months. Choose foods that do not require electricity to prepare. Great examples include granola bars, canned fruit, cereal with shelf-stable milk, crackers and tuna fish. Rotate your supplies every few months to ensure freshness.
2. Expect the power to go out.
While it’s not a guarantee that your power will go out, it is best to be prepared for the possibility regardless. In addition to food and water, you should also have first aid supplies, batteries, candles and emergency blankets in your emergency kit. If you have children in your family, it can also be helpful to have board games on hand to keep everyone entertained until the electricity comes back on. If you depend on electricity to heat your home, have a plan for staying warm without it. Shut your blinds and curtains and close off infrequently used rooms to conserve heat.
3. Prep your car.
Before the snow starts, fill your car up with gas and lift your wipers. Lifting your wipers before a storm will make it easier to clean the ice and snow from your windshield afterwards. Also, it will prevent the wipers from sticking to the glass and becoming damaged. Avoid travel if possible but keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in case you do find yourself on the road during a snowstorm.
4. Charge your cellphones.
If the power goes out, you’ll need a way to call for help or to contact the electric company. Invest in several portable power banks that can be used to charge your phone if the blizzard lasts longer than expected. Write down all your emergency contacts and keep them posted in a public place in your home. If you have young children, teach them how to use a cellphone so they will know how to call for help in an emergency.
5. Seal your doors and windows.
Weatherstripping your doors and windows will prevent heat from escaping. If a storm knocks out your power, this will help your home retain heat and keep you warm until the power returns. Do not use a generator, grill, gas or oil heater or a camp stove indoors to stay warm. Doing so will put you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Weatherstripping will also help keep your electric bill down during the winter months.
The best way to deal with a blizzard is to prepare ahead of time. Watch the weather report carefully and take note of any winter storm or blizzard warnings for your area. Take every alert seriously and exercise caution while out on the roads. As an added precaution, contact an independent agent to ensure that your home and auto are protected against any blizzard-related damages this winter.