Most Americans are likely to experience some type of severe winter weather event at some point in their lives. Winter weather could accelerate from a moderate snowfall to a blizzard within hours. The blizzard could be accompanied by wind-driven snow that may last for several days. Severe winter storms can bring extremely low temperatures, strong winds, ice, sleet and freezing rain.
Winters storms can knock out power and communication services in affected areas for long periods of time. It is important that people in storm-prone locations are ready with a diesel generator that will provide back up power in the event of an outage. Winter storms can cause fatalities, usually due to traffic accidents and hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold.
Preparation is the key to survival when storms strike. Here are a few ideas for getting ready for winter weather.
- Stay alert for warnings from the National Weather Service.
- Prepare vehicles for winter, and keep the gas tank full. Install snow tires to enable your car or truck to negotiate slippery roads covered with ice or snow.
- Insulate homes by installing window coverings inside and out.
- Have your heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected before the onset of winter.
- Keep at least a 3-day supply of water. Set aside one gallon of water per person in the house.
- Keep at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable and easy-to-prepare food, such as canned foods and fruits.
- Have a battery or hand-cranked powered radio.
- Have flashlights and other emergency lights ready.
- Keep extra batteries on hand for radios and flashlights.
- Re-stock your first aid kit.
- Keep a 7-day supply of medications and other medical items.
- Store a multi-purpose tool in an easy-to-find location.
- Keep a week supply of personal hygiene and sanitation items.
- Store your important documents in a waterproof file, and make sure that they are easy to access.
- Have your cell phones and chargers ready (along with fully-charged battery packs).
- Prepare warm clothing for each member of the household, such as coats, boots, and extra thick blankets, in the event that the heater fails.
- If you are operating a facility that stores perishable goods and medications, have a back up industrial generator to power the refrigerators and freezers that hold the items.
Preparation is your best insurance for the entire family in the event of a winter storm.