- Run the water regularly Your plumbing system is critical during a winter storm and frozen pipes can lead to expensive home repairs. Opening the faucet, even just a drip, provides relief from the excessive pressure that comes with ice blockage and can prevent a burst pipe.
- Don’t forget about the pet Non-perishable food items and extra water (a gallon per day, per person) for people should be automatic when preparing for an upcoming storm, but don't forget about those furry friends. Have extra pet food and meds on hand.
- Take a good look at your windows Especially on windy days, check for air leaks and make upgrades if necessary. This can be as simple as insulating with plastic for extra heat protection or installing storm windows for an extra layer of home protection.
- Install a backup generator When the power goes out, an automatic backup generator makes sure the lights and heat stay on. It immediately turns on when your power goes out and maintains a sense of normalcy when all else fails.
- Stay off the roads as much as possible If you absolutely have to drive, make sure your car is properly winterized (snow tires, antifreeze, flashing hazard lights, etc.) and equipped with an emergency supply kit. You’ll also want to keep your gas tank full, so you can leave quickly in an emergency.
- Charge your battery-powered electronic and communication devices Be sure to keep a battery-powered radio on hand to stay aware of changing weather conditions. Get out your flashlights, batteries, first aid kit and other emergency supplies.
- Stay warm If you start a wood-burning fire, follow all fireplace or woodstove safety precautions. Do not use an oven or a range as a home heating device. Be sure to bring out extra blankets and winter apparel to stay warm in the event of a power outage.
When storms dominate the forecast, there are a few simple steps every family should take. Stocking up on non-perishables and minimizing outdoor travel seems like no-brainers, but beyond finding a matched set of mittens, many families forget some of the other simple steps required to keep safe and warm.