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Planning for Inclement Weather and Winter Emergencies


As winter looms, so too does the prospect of storms and inclement weather capable of wreaking havoc on both life and property. Planning ahead for weather emergencies can safeguard your home, as well as your loved ones. The following tips will help you prepare for the worst that nature might throw your way.


Family Preparation

  • Assemble an emergency kit. Be sure you’re equipped with extra blankets, flashlights with extra batteries, battery-operated radio, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and enough prescription medications to last at least a week.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food and water. Provisions should be adequate to last your family a minimum of three days.
  • Regrouping Locations. Families should establish locations both on and off their property to rendezvous should they become separated during an emergency.
  • Family members should learn basic First Aid and CPR should a medical emergency occur.

Home Preparation

  • Check that walls and attics are properly insulated, and that doors and windows are weather-stripped and adequately sealed.
  • Inspect and clean chimneys, and make certain heating equipment is in good working order.
  • Insulate pipes. If freezing temperatures are forecast, allow faucets to drip to avoid freezing solid.
  • Monitor fuel supplies. If your home is heated with propane, oil, or wood, be sure you are adequately supplied should an extended storm hit.
  • Stock up on water. In addition to bottled water, filling one’s bathtub with water as well as extra containers will help address a host of water-related needs from drinking and cooking, to flushing toilets.
  • Property maintenance is a preventative measure that may help avoid or mitigate damage to one’s home. Attend to tree branches that could break in high winds or freezing conditions.
  • Consider purchasing a portable generator in case power is out for an extended period of time.
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Vehicle Preparation

  • Winterize your vehicles. Have your mechanic check wiper blades, ignitions systems, batteries, antifreeze, lights, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil.
  • Inspect your tires to ensure that they have adequate tread. Be certain that the type of tires mounted on your car will be effective in inclement weather. In certain climates and jurisdictions chains or studded tires will be required for travel.
  • Keep the following items in your vehicle:
  1. A windshield scraper and small broom
  2. A bag of sand to create traction for tires in snowy/icy conditions
  3. Matches stored in a waterproof container
  4. A brightly colored cloth to tie to your antenna (neon orange, yellow, or red)
  5. Keep gas tanks full, and batteries charged in electric vehicles in the event that you are required to leave your home
  6. An emergency kit including first aid supplies, warm clothing, a flashlight, blankets, non-perishable food and water


Safeguard Your Animals

  • Bring your animal companions (pets) indoors.
  • Outdoor animals should have an area where they can be sheltered from severe winter conditions.
  • Grazing animals should have a protected food supply and a non-freezing water source.

A Little Preparedness Can Go a Long Way

You may not find the time to address each and every item listed above, however, any amount of preparation is better than none and can help relieve some of the stress associated with the onset of cold temperatures. Remember, a little forethought can go a long way when inclement weather hits.

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