Well, we have sort of lucked out the last two weeks. A beautiful white holiday with just enough snow to provide ambiance, and an ice storm that was followed by warm enough temperatures to keep it from downing many power lines and wreaking havoc on our lives. But, it is safe to say, we may not always be so lucky! Why not get prepared so that when the next ominous winter forecast predicts doom and gloom, you’re not only ready, but you feel confident challenging Jack Frost to “bring it on!” Here’s your blizzard prep guidelines!
Prior to colder weather, it is a good idea to weatherproof your home. Sometimes we run out of time in the fall because we are too busy raking the millions of leaves covering the ground. Frozen pipes are one of the biggest problems that accompany blizzards and polar vortexes. Add insulation to the water lines that are near exterior walls as they are the ones that are likely to freeze.
Adding insulation to your attic and walls will also minimize freezing and hopefully keep your home warmer and more economical to heat. Make sure and add a weather strip to leaky doors and windows to keep you and your family warm and heating bills down. If you have storm windows, make sure to install them as well.
Finally, if you have trees near power lines, make sure to keep them trimmed to minimize the likelihood of a downed line.
If you have a fireplace and rely on it when the temperatures drop or worse the power goes out, then it is important to have your fireplace inspected yearly. It is also a good idea to burn a creosote removal log in your fireplace after every 40 fires to help minimize the build-up that causes chimney fires. Likewise, having a stash of wood in your home prior to the blizzard is a good idea, too. It will keep you from going out into dangerous conditions to gather fuel.
Make sure that all of your portable devices are charged and ready for a storm. If you have portable chargers, make sure they are charged so you are set for the long haul. While it is great for your teens to be able to beat the boredom of no electricity, it is more important that you have access to weather apps, an easy access flashlight, and a way to telephone for help should you need it,
Light it up
If you follow the previous guideline, you will have access to your mobile phone’s flashlight, but, if that flashlight is as poor as mine, certainly something more substantial is in order. Have batteries and a heavy duty flashlight and lantern prepared for long stints without electricity. Being able to see will help you recover all the items you should have prepared before the storm but didn’t.
We’ve all been to the grocery store after a reported blizzard is forecast. It is total madness, so getting in and getting out will require its own survival guidebook. What you must do is have a list of items that provide you and your family with hydration and sustenance until you are able to get back out again. Load up on bread, deli meats, cheese and raw veggies that can provide meals regardless of whether the electricity is on or not. Gather snacks like granola bars, nuts, fruit that are filling, have some nutritional value, and don’t require refrigeration or heat. Most importantly, buy some jugs of water. If your pipes freeze, or you have an electrical pump, your access to drinkable water could be hindered. Be prepared for the worst case scenario.
Have your equipment ready
Be sure to put your snow shovel by the door so you have access to it right away without needing to find your way to the garage. Better yet, keep your shovel in your front hall closet or by the back door for easy access. It is a good idea to shovel the areas near your door every hour or two as the snow begins to fall; this will ensure you can get out your front door when you need to.
If it is in your budget and you live in a northern state like Michigan, it is a good idea to purchase a generator. It will save you from cold, heatless nights, keep your refrigerator and freezer contents at the right temperature and allow you to continue to cook and maintain a normal lifestyle when power is disrupted.
That flashlight will come in handy for all kinds of things, but you don’t want to have to search for medical supplies. Make sure to have them available when you get a headache from hearing, “I am so bored” one too many times, and to have Band-Aids, etc… for mishaps.
Have those board games in an easy to locate area. If you are trapped and have no electricity, there is no greater way to pass the time with your family than some fun games. You all might even find yourself wishing for a snowstorm!
I’ve always found that being prepared takes the fear out of most things. Getting your home and family prepped and ready for any weather disturbance will give you peace of mind and allow you to sit and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while everyone else scrambles.