Emergency Preparedness can take on several forms, and harsh winter weather is definitely something to get prepared for. It seems like every year we get word of huge winter storms that cancel flights, shut down entire airports, cancel NFL games (much to my chagrin), knock out power, and keep people inside their homes for extended periods of time. Since we know the possibility of a huge storm is very real, take some time and spend a few hours prepping your home before the emergency happens.We did our homework to find a comprehensive checklist of items to think about and check off before winter comes, so get to work!1. Check on your outdoor snow removal equipment and make sure you have everything you need, i.e. shovels, rock salt, snow blowers, sand, or whatever else you may use.2. Are you ready for a possible extended period of isolation in your home?
- Additional Fuel Sources – Firewood, kerosene, Propane, etc.
- Emergency Food – Freeze Dried Food, Dehydrated Food, Canned Goods, etc. to last several days or weeks
- First Aid – Sufficient first aid kits with enough product to handle minor to major wounds
- Vitamins and Medications – Sufficient quantities of your medications and supplements to make it through a couple of weeks
- Winter Gear – Make sure that you have enough warm blankets, hats, gloves, mittens, etc. so that all family members are able to stay warm
3. Do you have proper insulation in the walls and attics? How does the caulking and weather-stripping on your doors and windows look? For areas of historically more volatile winter storms, do you have working storm windows?4. Clean out rain gutters, repair leaks in the roof, and get rid of tree branches that could potentially fall onto your home during particularly bad storms.5. Are your fire extinguishers in good working order and ready to be deployed in case of emergency?6. Know where your water shut off is and how to use it in case a pipe freezes and bursts.7. If your house is older and you have any concerns, hire a contractor to look at the structural security of your roof and it’s ability to the handle weight of snow accumulation.8. Make sure that your furnace is ready for the increased use. Change the filter, or have someone come and do a quick winter tune-up.While this list may not be everything you need to do to winterize your home, it is a very good starting point and can help you to think through other things that would be necessary to get through a tough storm. If I have learned anything about emergency preparedness, it is that taking the time to prepare ahead of time for an emergency is not something that I have ever regretted. Take an hour on a Saturday morning and run through this list, it may be the best thing you do this winter.