February tends to be a particularly brutal winter month. With this, we thought it might be nice to remind you of some ideas that can be used to prepare in advance, for any severe winter conditions.
Keep a to-go bag: One nice idea is to keep a bag of supplies ready to go. Make sure to keep it easily accessible, like in a front closet or next to a door. A backpack is probably ideal since it will be easier to carry around if you need to leave your home due to power outage etc…, however, lightweight luggage with wheels or duffle bags can also work. To get you started, some things you might consider including:
- 2-3 changes of clothes (if you roll them, you can fit a lot more into a smaller space)
- A long lasting, LED flashlight
- Small amount of cash – bills and coins just in case
- 2-3 day supply of any necessary medications (put them into a weekly pill box or waterproof container)
- Non-perishable snacks and bottled water
- First Aid Kit – Neosporin, cortisone, bandages, ice pack, peroxide, tweezers, small scissors, safety pins, disposable gloves, medical tape, alcohol free wipes, antihistamine pills/cream, cough medicine, eye drops and a digital thermometer.
- Copies of important paperwork sealed in a Ziploc bag or waterproof container. Consider things like Driver’s License, credit cards, birth/marriage/naturalization certificates, proof of address, SS Card etc…
- Personal hygiene items. Travel sizes work great for this.
- Phone charger and/or power pack for your phone.
- Book or some small items to keep yourself or children busy.
- Small bag of pet supplies including food/treats, water dish, a warm blanket and a toy to keep them occupied.
Prepare your car: Another step to prepare for bad winter weather is to make sure your car is good to go if needed. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Make sure you have a full tank of gas
- Check your battery if you have an older one to make sure it’s working well.
- Ensure all fluids are topped off
- Make sure that your wipers and hazard lights are working properly.
- Supplies – Ice scraper, small broom, something to help with tire traction in the event your tires are slipping (consider a small sand bag, chains or mats), matches and flares (good to keep in something waterproof), flashlight, bright colored cloth to tie to the car in case you need to flag down help, a blanket, and a set of warm clothing including hat, gloves and scarf.
Prepare your home: Take additional steps to ensure your home is winter ready:
- Keep your pipes from freezing or learn how to thaw them if they do. Click here for some helpful tips.
- If you own a fireplace, be sure to have a nice supply of firewood.
- Make sure to weather strip your doors and windows to keep out drafts.
- Some may consider a portable home generator. Click here to learn more about precautions you should take if you choose to explore this route, as they can be harmful if not used properly. This is just one source, so be sure to do some research before jumping into this option.
- Be sure to bring pets indoors or create a warm, safe space for outdoor animals.
Stay safe outdoors: In the event that you must go outside in extreme weather, please be sure to take steps to keep yourself safe:
- If you need to shovel, do so in short amounts so you do not over exert yourself. Click here for some other safety tips.
- Wear layers of clothing, hat, mittens and scarf. If possible, be sure to select a coat and boots that are water resistant so you can stay dry. If you do get wet, be sure to change your clothing frequently so you do not lose too much body heat.
- Cover your mouth to prevent breathing in freezing cold air and minimize talking.
- Try to avoid driving in severe weather conditions. Not only can it be dangerous to drive in inclement weather, but it also keeps the roads as clear as possible for snow plows, salt trucks and emergency vehicles.
- Stay hydrated and eat regularly. Food will provide your body with the energy it needs to generate body heat. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as these can have a negative impact on your blood circulation and speed up the effects cold has on your body.
We hope these tips will be found helpful during this last stretch of winter. Stay warm!