Winter is coming! And we’re not talking about being a Game of Thrones fan! This time of year, we know it won’t take long before we’re in the full grip of winter. Weather during winter can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and power outages that can last a few hours or several days. Winter weather can turn unexpectedly severe in a short period of time. Take a few minutes now to inventory what you have and what you need, so that you’re ready when you need to be.
AROUND YOUR HOME:
- If you have a fireplace or woodstove make an appointment with your chimney sweep to get it cleared out.
- Blow the water out of your sprinkler system.
- Winterize your exterior faucets and water lines (a Styrofoam faucet cover is only a couple of bucks at hardware stores).
- Drain your air conditioner pipes.
- Check your doors and windows for drafts. If there are any, apply caulking or weather stripping. It’s a small step that can keep your home a lot warmer.
- Check your carbon monoxide detector batteries.
CHECK YOUR SNOW TOOLS:
- Are your snow shovels easily accessible and still in good working order?
- Stock up on some rock salt and sand to sprinkle on icy paths and steps.
- Consider getting a long-handled broom to sweep snow off your trees and roof.
PREPARE YOUR CAR:
- Check that you still have a windshield scraper and brush in your car.
- Keep a small snow shovel and a bag of kitty litter in your car. This can make all the difference if you get stuck in deep snow or can’t get traction because of an icy patch.
- Pack an emergency kit for the car that includes a first aid kit, hand warmers, flashlight with extra batteries, blankets, water, and snacks. If you are stranded out in cold weather you will be glad to have these supplies on hand
- Now’s the best time of year for an overall car check . . . have your mechanic check your car’s antifreeze levels, brakes, and tire treads. Vehicles should be equipped with chains or snow tires.
Ready.gov has a lot of resources for preparing for winter and other specific emergency situations. I also found this FEMA PDF handbook that is 15 pages and pretty detailed if you want to do more to get your home ready.