by Justin Gray
We're getting hit really hard this year; with torrential rain, wind, ice and snow in the forecast, it seems fitting to do a piece on how to prepare for the conditions at home and on the road.
Create a plan:
One thing that people don't think to do in preparation is to make a plan. Of course things change, but it is good to have a plan for each person in your home should an event arise.
- Prepare personal needs such as medications, food, water, and medical supplies.
- Create a "contact chain" with multiple ways to get ahold of family members should electricity or phone service goes down.
- Plan a common meeting place for family members to congregate in an event.
- Power Source - do you have a plan for power outages that can last days?
- Where will the pets go if something should happen? What about their food? Have a plan for them too!
- Important documents - have important documents and medical records easily accessible.
Weatherproof & Prepare Your Home:
Seal it up! It is really important that you seal air gaps in windows and doors; drafts cause you to lose heat and it ends up costing you more money in the long-run.
It's really easy to insulate water lines compared to replacing damaged and broken ones. This is a preventative step to help stop big problems from happening.
Just like in the first recommendation, insulate walls & attic spaces to be sure that heat stays in while the cold is kept out.
Is your roof and siding up to par? Fix any holes or leaks before they become worse!
Another often overlooked part of winter prep is clearing the area around your home. Loose equipment, play structures, and debris can cause trip hazards and become projectiles with high winds. Clear them away, secure, and remove any trees and other dangers from around the house's perimeter.
A good radio with multiple power options (batteries, rechargeable, and hand crank) with AM/FM/ and NOAA weather is a good choice to stay informed should the power go out.
Have extra clothing on hand in-case you get wet.
Candles provide light and a bit of warmth in a small area and are a great emergency item.... as long as you do not leave them unattended. Our camplites are a great source of light and some act as a powerbank too.
Plow walk-ways to keep access open so you can open exterior doors and get outside when necessary.
STAY CALM. There is no need to panic in these situations. Keep toys, games, art paper, and other things around for people to keep occupied.
Keep food and water stocked for each person (and pet!) - a weeks' worth is a good start. Keep inside and accessible - especially the water as it will freeze!
- power back-ups
- radio w/extra batteries
- games, toys, craft supplies
- propane/electric heaters
- extra food + water
Get your car ready:
Check your anti-freeze levels and replace with winter anti-freeze that can handle the cold temperatures.
Be sure to check your tire tread levels and pressure levels prior to traveling. The best tire for the condition (like snow tires when driving in the snow) is the best choice.
Replace summer season windshield washer fluid with winter formulations. Just like anti-freeze, the winter windshield washer fluid has a special formulation to help prevent freezing in colder temperatures.
Don't wait until you're on empty, be sure to fill-up and keep the fuel tank at least 1/4 full at all times. I prefer to carry spare fuel in case of emergencies while traveling.
Check over all systems of your vehicle including: suspension, brakes, engine belts & hoses, other fluids such as brake & transmission, steering, and anything else.
Create a car travel/winter kit (see list below).
We have an in-depth blog covering all of the important steps: located here
- emergency blankets
- 1st aid kit
- tire chains
- energy bar
- portable power supply
- ice scraper
- extra clothes
- fire & candle
- hand warmers
- tow rope
- battery powered radio
- kitty litter/road salt/sand/traction boards
- jump starter
As I mentioned before, don't forget to prepare for your pets.
If staying home, keep their bed indoors and near yours. Make sure they have a supply of their food, meds, and other needs.
If traveling, make sure you keep their supplies handy and protect them when outdoors.
- Winter Travel Tips & Gear blog
- Natural Disasters and Severe Weather (CDC)
- Wagan Tech winter blogs & products
What did I forget? Leave a comment or share your story below!