The holidays are quickly approaching and we often get mixed up in the chaos of the season and forget to prepare for the weather ahead. Many winter storms involve dangerously low temperatures, freezing rain, sleet, strong winds, and ice. Keep reading to learn how to keep you, your family, and your home safe when bad weather hits.
Storm Safety Kit: To prepare for any winter storm, it’s best to have a storm safety kit assembled and easily-accessible in case you need it. Here’s a list of items you should keep in your kit:
• Rock salt or environmentally-safe products to melt ice on walkways
• Sand to improve traction
• Snow shovels or other snow removal equipment
• Sufficient heating fuel. During intense storms your power may go out causing you to be isolated in your home, and regular fuel sources may be cut off. In case this happens, store a supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Family Communications Plan: Make sure that your family is prepared for a storm whether you’re all together when it hits or not, by developing a Family Communications Plan. Visit ready.gov/make-a-plan for information on what your plan should look like.
Weather Radio: It’s a great idea to get a battery-operated weather radio to stay on top of alerts and warnings, should your electricity go out during a storm.
Necessities: Make sure that you and your family have plenty of extra blankets, warm clothing, non-perishable food, and water in case you are isolated for a few days.
Heating Safety: Whether you plan on using a fireplace, wood stove, kerosene heater, or even just your normal gas or electric heating system, we strongly recommend having a carbon monoxide detector installed. Similarly, check your smoke detector’s batteries to make sure they’re charged, and be sure to test both detectors monthly. Lastly, only vent fuel-burning equipment outside of your home, and remember to open your cabinets or crawl spaces to allow heat to reach your pipes and prevent them from bursting.
If you’re able to use your fireplace to stay warm, check out our recent blog post on additional fireplace safety: Fireplace Safety Tips
Exterior Tips: Walk around your home to make sure any exterior materials are secure – winter weather can easily rip off exterior material such as siding if it’s loose. Don’t forget to check that your gutters are clear of leaves and other debris. Check surrounding trees to ensure there are no branches that propose a threat to your home, car, people, or power lines. If there are branches that could easily break off and cause damage, call your local tree trimming service and have the branches removed.
These tips should help ensure that you, your family, and your home are ready for any potential winter storms! If your home does happen to suffer any damage this winter, be sure to give us a call!
Accidents do happen even when we do our best to be prepared and avoid them. Learn more on how to resolve unexpected accidents and check out additional winter storm FAQs here: http://on.mo.gov/1O3Sj4j