Secure Your Home for a Winter Storm
Staying put at home isn’t always about aging in place. When inclement winter weather turns from inconvenient to dangerous, it can become a quite literal need. Though your home can be a safe haven from the storm, key to wellbeing is having the essentials on hand. Getting safely through a blizzard, ice storm or cold snap is doable when you consider ahead of time what you might need for the following scenarios:
Millions of people rely on their furnaces and radiators to stay warm throughout winter. All it takes, though, is one faulty appliance part or broken gas line for your heat to be out as long as it takes the HVAC technician or gas company to fix it. To prepare for a heat disruption, stock up on thick blankets—enough to keep warm everyone in your house. Have old towels or torn sheets readily available as well to wedge under doors and shut out frigid drafts and cover windows with extra blankets to retain warm air. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, an ample stockpile of logs could be of huge benefit if your heat is out for more than a few hours.
A sizeable blizzard can leave behind six feet of snow in a single day, and such a storm can make driving or even walking too hazardous to attempt. So don’t. Especially when you might be at risk for a fall or hypothermia, stay inside and wait for the weather to pass. However, when you must stay in your house, food might quickly run out. You can rest easy, though, when you stock up on nonperishable items. Canned and boxed foods often stay good for several months, so you can purchase them before winter rolls in. If you take medication, keep an extra bottle in the house should your prescription run out. And don’t forget the paper towels, tissues and toilet paper!
Nonperishable food can also come in handy when the power goes out. Because refrigerated items can go bad in just a few hours—even when kept in a closed fridge—it’s best to stick with canned or boxed options if you lose power for more than a half-day. Wintertime weather combined with no electricity typically means meager natural light as well, but flashlights can help you easily and safely navigate your home. Candles can also light your way, but to prevent a fire, make sure they are supervised at all times. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also suggests a battery-powered radio to stay in touch with the outside world until your electricity returns.