Winter Home Preparedness

It is finally happening. For the past few days, there has been a little nip of cooler air in the area, and this signals cold weather may be around the corner. With that realization in mind, it is now time to prepare for winter weather; particularly winter storms. Preparation should be in three areas: supplies, equipment, and communication.

You should have enough supplies to survive if you find yourself unable to leave your house for a few days. Make sure you have good quality flashlights and lamps with fresh batteries. In case your flashlight gives out or you run out of batteries, you can light your home the old-fashioned way: with candles. So also consider that you will need to stock up on matches, since lighters can run out of fuel or break. Make sure you also stock up on nonperishable foods such as canned soups and vegetables, powdered food, and grains such as rice and pasta. You should have enough to last your family at least three or four days. Also, purchase a few gallon jugs and fill them with tap water in case your pipes freeze. And don’t forget prescription medicines. Like food, it is always wise to have enough to last a few days, and you can’t wait until a storm hits to have these; they should already be on hand.

Another item that should always be on hand is a first aid kit. You never know what kind of injuries or emergencies will happen, so make sure you have sterile bandages, disinfectant, antibiotic ointment, and over-the-counter painkillers available.

You have to consider that at some point during winter months, you may be without electricity.Backup equipment should, therefore, be available. One little-thought-of, but vital, piece of equipment is an electric can  opener. You may find yourself with plenty of canned food but no means of opening the cans. Therefore, make sure you have a manual can opener as well. And while we are talking about food supply, how can you prepare meals if the electric stove has no electricity supply? A camping stove or grill is a wise investment for such situations. Be sure, however, to use it with proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and have plenty of backup fuel on hand.

Finally, let’s discuss communication. If a winter storm hits and takes out the electricity, consider how communication becomes even more  necessary.  It is vital to have means of communication with the outside world and family, as well as to be able to keep track of weather reports. Therefore, you must have devices to make this possible. In order to keep up with the latest news without wall power, you should have a battery operated radio or a motion charging radio. A cellphone with a cord or a portable cellphone charger also becomes a necessity. Such a device assures that those vital calls to family members are possible.

If we make such preparations now, before a storm hits, we should have no fear of its occurrence. Many of the items mentioned above should be on hand not only for winter storms but other emergency situations, and prudent thinking now will help you avoid panic later.