The last few years have seen in increase in storms and blizzards across the East coast, and plunging temperatures across North America. During our coldest season, it’s unfortunate that power outages and an onslaught of snow can occur simultaneously.
The primary concern during winter storms is the loss of power, and with it heat and light. When temperatures drop, pipes can freeze and lack of water or being stuck in the cold can become life threatening in many areas.
Because there are many health and safety hazards during these storms, we’ve gathered a collection of “must haves” in the event of a winter storm. Get prepared today and you’ll be glad you did should extreme weather strike.
- Have a full safety kit in your home.
- Battery powered flashlights and lanterns with extra batteries.
- A collection of candles. Note, never leave a lit candle out of sight.
- Be sure that you have a collection of warm winter clothes, including gloves, toques/beanies, scarves and thick socks packed near your safety kit.
- Any medications or medical supplies that may be needed by any members of your family.
- Have a paper copy of all important phone numbers including fire fighters, police, neighbours and important family and friends. This list should be laminated, if possible.
- Have cellphone and charger on hand.
- Invest in a battery-power radio and keep extra batteries close by.
- Create a “Family Communication Plan” and make sure your children know what to do to get in contact in the case of an emergency.
Transportation Safety Checklist:
- Bag of salt to melt ice on walkways.
- Bag of sand to improve traction on ice and snow.
- Snow Shovels and other snow clearing tools.
- A car safety kit and extra blankets are essential in case you are stuck in your car.
- If you have a fireplace, have a collection of dried wood.
- Have a collection of blankets, sleeping bags and warm jackets.
- Portable space heaters.
- Keep all space heaters at least 3 feet from furniture, bedding and curtains.
- Have a working battery-powered smoke detector.
- Have a working battery-powered carbon monoxide detector.
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand.
- If you have a generator, never use it indoors.
- Do not store gasoline indoors.
- Do not use barbecues or grills indoors.
It is best to be prepared with a week’s worth of food in the off chance that you’ll be stuck indoors during a blizzard.
- Adequate water supplies
- Canned and dried food
- Non-perishables, like crackers, cookies and granola bars
- Baby food (if needed)
- Extra pet food
During winter storms, there are many hazards that can happen with water, pipes and frozen water.
- If your power is still on, keep all cupboards open near water pipes so that pipes do not freeze.
- Leave all taps on slightly so that water runs and pipes do not freeze.
- In case of impending freezing taps, fill your bath tub full of water.
- Have a collection of bottled water.
- Do not attempt to thaw pipes by any means if your pipes are frozen.
- In case of emergency, you can melt snow for water. Bring water to a boil for a full minute to kill bacteria.