When a winter weather warning is in effect, it’s a great idea to have a plan for storm preparation that includes important winter safety tips — especially before the harsh conditions begin and potentially keep you and your family trapped indoors for hours or days. Having certain things at the ready during the winter months could save a lot of time and grief in the long run. If a snowstorm is on its way, you don’t want to be caught off guard. Here are some essential winter safety tips and supplies to make sure you have on hand before winter weather strikes.
1. A First-Aid Kit
If you can’t make it to the hospital due to weather conditions and there’s a medical emergency in your home, you want to have medical items close by. Having a first-aid kit on hand is smart when it comes to storm preparedness — and not just during winter months. Essential items to have in your kit include: antiseptic spray, gauze pads, scissors, adhesive tape, ace bandages, disposable adhesive bandages, tweezers, ibuprofen, burn gel, and sterile gloves.
2. A Flashlight and Batteries
It’s smart to have a flashlight or two in the house if the electricity goes off, and you also should have candles and matches around as well — the more lighting options, the better. You won’t really know how much you need light until you’re without it. Be sure to have extra batteries for your flashlight and other battery-operated devices you might need to use throughout a storm, like a wireless radio to stay informed about current conditions.
3. Warm Clothes and Blankets
If the electricity and heat in your home are affected by winter weather, you’ll want to have plenty of layers to keep you and your family warm. Jackets, sweaters, hats, gloves, and anything else that you can use to layer up are so crucial to have during harsh winter conditions. A gas-powered space heater can also help warm up the rooms of your house, but be cautious: Never leave a heater unattended or too close to anything flammable.
4. Medications and Personal Documents
Your medicine — especially if you take something on a daily basis — is a necessity. A good rule of thumb is to have seven days worth of medication as part of your storm preparation plan. It’s also a good idea to stock up on any additional health-related items, like contact lenses and solution, syringes, or hearing aids with extra batteries. Along with medication, you should have your pertinent medical information, proof of address, the lease or deed for your home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, credit cards, and social security cards.
5. Food and Water
Ensure that you have a three-day supply of clean drinking water and non-perishable food. Think of foods that do not require any refrigeration, like canned items or peanut butter. Sometimes your water supply can become compromised or contaminated during bad weather, so it’s best to have around one gallon of water per person in your household stored in advance. And don’t forget about the furry members of your family; make sure you have enough food and water for your pets, too.
6. A Full Tank of Gas
Gas stations tend to run out of gas during emergencies, so it’s best to make sure that your gas tanks are full before a storm hits. Have a bag of sand/salt handy for your driveway so that you don’t get stuck in ice or snow, and make sure that you have a shovel around during the winter months. Metal shovels can leave behind tiny bits of metal that could damage your driveway or car, so it’s best to use a plastic shovel.
7. A Backup Power Generator
Generators can keep your heat on, your water hot, and your fridge cold. To power what’s necessary for your home without spending too much money, look for portable generators as they tend to be more affordable. Keep in mind that generator sizes are based on wattage; a cell phone charger takes 10 watts, while a space heater uses 1,320 watts. And remember: A portable generator should sit at least 10 feet from the house to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.