The forecast calls for a blizzard. School will be canceled and the office will close. But before you get too excited about a snow day, make sure your home, your car and yourself are prepared for a winter storm.
Preparing Your House
- Clean out gutters and remove tree branches that could cause damage during a storm.
- Avoid snow buildup by clearing paths and driveways.
- Winterize your home by insulating pipes to avoid freezing and sealing the attic to prevent ice dams.
- Install battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors.
- Make sure the backup batteries for smoke alarms are replaced annually, so they’ll work in a power outage.
- If you have a generator outside, make sure it’s at least 20 feet from a door, window or vent.
- Stock up on heating fuel in case regular fuel sources are cut off.
- Keep rock salt handy to melt icy walkways.
- If you have a fireplace, keep a surplus of dry, seasoned wood. Before using, make sure your fireplace has been properly maintained and is ready for winter.
Checking Your Car
- Use an antifreeze tester to check the antifreeze level. Add more as needed to avoid freezing.
- Buy a de-icing windshield washing fluid to replace your current mixture.
- Check the tires for correct air pressure and adequate tread. If tires are worn, have them replaced.
Have a mechanic check the following:
- Battery and ignition system – clean battery terminals and make sure everything is in good shape
- Brakes – check for wear and tear, as well as fluid levels
- Exhaust system – ensure there are no leaks in the pipes to prevent carbon monoxide
- Fuel and air filters – replace filters and use additives to keep water out of the system
- Heater, defroster and thermostat – check that system is in working order
- Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability
- Oil – check oil levels
- Engine – check fluid levels
- Headlights and taillights – test that they are working
Stocking Up Supplies
Have an emergency weather radio that provides alerts and sign up to receive important announcements from your local emergency services agency.
- Portable charger
- Extra batteries
- Blankets, sleeping bags, coats, sweaters and mittens
- Flashlights or lanterns
- Spare matches
- Bottled water
- Canned/no-cook food
- Disposable plates, bowls and utensils
- Manual can opener
- Rock salt
- Supply of sand or cat litter
- Battery-powered lamps
- Personal medication or dietary products