As we round the corner into 2011, the winter of 2010 shows no signs of letting up. As volatile as some of the winter storms have been, we should all revisit how to prepare our homes and families for a big storm and possible power outages—before they occur.
Be sure you stock up on salt and remember to properly maintain your snow blower. You may want to schedule a snow plowing service to help you keep up with the shoveling.
The American Red Cross recommends putting together a disaster supply kit for your home in case of an emergency. With plenty of power outages forecast with this latest round of storms, it would be wise for each household to assemble a kit for those just-in-case times. Here’s a list of what they suggest to have on hand for when you are confined to your home or you must evacuate.
- Food. Stock at least a four-day supply of food for your family. Consider stocking a two-week supply of food for extreme situations. Make sure you have a can opener and silverware/plates.
- Water. Store four gallons of water per person in the kit. If you have pets, remember to store extra water for them as well.
- Radio. Purchase a portable, battery-powered radio or TV and extra fresh batteries so that you can stay informed.
- Flashlight. Locate a flashlight for every member of the household and make sure you have fresh batteries.
- First aid kit. Make sure you are stocked up on first aid supplies and be sure it’s assembled in a portable kit so that you can take it with you in case you need to evacuate your home.
- Medications. Have a supply of your prescription and over-the-counter medications in case you are unable to leave your home to refill them—or to take with you in case of evacuation.
- Cash. Have some cash and coins on hand if you’re unable to use credit.
- ID. Be sure you have your personal identification with you.
- Keys. Take an extra set of car keys and house keys with you.
- Matches. Store some matches in a waterproof container.
- List. Assemble a list of places you could evacuate to along with phone numbers.
- Infant-care items. If you have a baby, be sure you have formula, diapers, bottles, pacifiers and other necessary items on hand.
- Cell phone.
- Toiletry items.
- Clothing. Pack a change of clothing for each person. Make sure everyone has shoes.
- Blanket. Each person will need a blanket or sleeping bag and pillow.
- Toys. Pack a few toys or books to help keep your kids entertained.
- Roll of duct tape and scissors.
Planning ahead will allow you to be ready at a moment’s notice. Stock up on your supplies, schedule your snow plowing service and assemble your kits so that you won’t be left out in the cold—or in the dark—when the next storm hits.