Time for Your Annual Winter Storm Checkup
So far this winter season has been a bit wonky. Lots of rain one minute and then a deep freeze the next.
Winter Storm Prep Before the Storms Hit
We are always thinking of ways to make sure we are prepared for whatever may come along. It seems each year when bad winter storm hit there are always quite a few folks who were blindsided by the extreme winter weather, empty grocery shelves and being stuck at home.
Are you one of those folks? Looks like some winter storms are going to be hitting a good portion of the country in the next week or so. Let’s make sure you are not caught off guard again!
Winter Storm Prep List
Here’s a list of the considerations so that you and yours are comfortable no matter what Mother Nature sends your way:
- Have a Plan: Sit down and talk with your family about each family members specific responsibilities in the plan. Also discuss how you are to communicate with each-other if separated or before everyone can get back to your home base. Be sure to discuss a Plan B if cell phones are not operable.
- Invest in a Generator: Many will claim they are too expensive — well, they are most expensive when everyone wants one — supply and demand. Watch the sales during milder weather and set aside funds to buy one. Take my word for it — you’ll be glad you did when it is 20 degrees outside and you have no power which means no heat. Or a Spring storm knocks power out for days. Always make sure you have enough gas on hand to run the generator for an extended period of time. Be sure to follow these Generator Safety Tips from the Red Cross.
- Basic Meds: Having medical supplies on hand is a given. If severe weather is predicted check your scripts and get refills in advance. Have an extra refill on hand for backup. Then make sure to have a decent med kit on hand with all the basics such as pain relievers, antacid, anti-diarrhea, allergy meds, band-aids, antibiotic cream — you get the idea! This can get expensive so go to the local dollar store and stock up on generic store brands.
- Lots of Batteries: Needed to run your battery powered radio, weather radio, flashlight(s). Can’t ever have enough batteries. Stock up throughout the year when you see sales/deals/coupons.
- Food Safety and Storage: Refrigerated food will stay cool for about 4 hours without electricity. A half-filled freezer will hold food safely for 24 hours; full freezer 48 hours. An ice packed cooler can extend perishables (or if below freezing put food in the cooler in a protected area outside). If food is stored for two or more hours at 40 degrees or above — toss it. Some basic foods for storage are:
- Canned soup, meats, vegetables, beans, fruits and juices.
- Nuts, dried fruit, pasta and pasta sauces.
- Staples such as salt, pepper, sugar, coffee, tea.
- Crackers, powdered milk, peanut butter and energy bars can come in handy too.
- Water, water and more water! The average person should drink two quarts each day. The general rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day for drinking and cooking. Add an additional gallon for personal hygiene and cleaning. If you are unsure of water quality boil for three to five minutes or purchase some water purifying tablets. You can also use chlorine bleach with no perfume or detergent by adding 16 drops per gallon (8 drops/2-liter bottle); let stand 30 minutes. If you don’t smell chlorine treat again and let stand another 30 minutes.
- Cash: Enough cash on hand to replenish food and supplies. No power; no ATMs!
- And, Judi and my favorites: A deck of cards and adult beverages. Once a storm hits there isn’t much you can do but wait it out — so why not try and have some fun?
Thinking ahead and having the basics you need to be safe and comfortable can make all the difference in the world. It’s pretty easy to do too — create your list and buy a few things every time you shop and store them away. You’ll be glad you did!