Blizzard survival guide: Everything you need to know to prepare for the storm

Before any sort of winter storm, a winter storm survival kit should be prepared and kept in a secure place in case of emergency. These kits should contain everything from blankets to flashlights with extra batteries, non-perishable food, waterproof matches, a shovel and windshield scraper, a tool kit, jumper cables, a water container, road maps and flares.

Check out the lists below to make sure you are prepared:


How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

--Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
--Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
==Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
--If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 F.

Put Together a Supply Kit

--Water-at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
--Food-at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
--Flashlight
--Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
--Extra batteries
--First aid kit
--Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
--Multi-purpose tool
--Sanitation and personal hygiene items
--Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
--Cell phone with chargers
--Family and emergency contact information
--Extra cash
--Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
--Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
--Tools/supplies for securing your home
--Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
--Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members
--Ample alternate heating methods such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves


Protect Your Pets

--If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
--If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.

The following tips on winter pet safety are provided by the Humane Society of the United States:
--If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet's body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
--Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet's paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.
--Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.

Tips for Motorists


--If you must drive a vehicle, monitor weather and traffic reports for the latest road conditions. Use mass transportation whenever possible.
--Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible as these roadways will be cleared first.
--Drive slowly. Posted speed limits are for ideal weather conditions. Vehicles, including those with 4-wheel drive, take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.
--If you skid, steer in the direction you want the car to go and straighten the wheel when the car moves in the desired direction.
--Keep the name and phone number of at least one local towing service in your car in case you break down or become stuck in the snow.
--Try to keep your vehicle's gas tank as full as possible.
--If you get stuck on the road stay with your car and contact a towing company.

Tips for Pedestrians


--Exercise caution and avoid slippery surfaces; some ice may not be visible.
--Wear layers including a hat, gloves and scarf to stay protected from the cold. And, keep clothes and shoes dry.
--Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.
--Have heightened awareness of cars, particularly when approaching or crossing intersections.

Other tips for dealing with the storm:


--For safety's sake, don't touch or approach any downed wire. Assume it is energized and dangerous. Call your utility company immediately. Depending on the situation, you may also want to call your local police to divert traffic until an O&R crew arrives.

--Maintain a distance of at least 50 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with including puddles of water and fences. Supervise your children so that they are not in the vicinity and keep pets on a leash.

--If a fallen wire is draped over a car, do not approach the car and make rescue attempts. Remain a safe distance away, and try to keep the occupant of the vehicle calm. If possible, emergency personnel should handle the situation.

--Stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water, manual can opener, baby supplies and pet food. Set your refrigerator and freezer controls to their coldest settings. Fill the bathtub with water.

--Have emergency equipment within reach - portable radio, flashlights, candles and matches, spare batteries, first aid kit, cell phone and important medications. Update your personal list of emergency phone numbers.

--If you experience a power outage, don't assume that your utility company automatically knows about it or that someone else will report it.

--Remember: if the base station of your cordless phone plugs into the wall, your phone will be unusable during a power outage.

--If a family member relies on electrically operated medical devices, secure a portable generator or make alternate arrangements for care. O&R does not provide customers with generators.

--Keep at least a half-tank of gas in your car. Consider having extra cash on-hand, in case ATM machines don't work.

--Learn how to manually open and close any electrically powered garage door, security door or gate.

More information from the American Red Cross:
http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm






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