The winter season has only just started, yet cities across the country have already seen freezing temperatures and hefty snowfalls. The first months of the new year will likely see winter storms and blizzards blow through towns everywhere, and you need to be prepared for them. As there is more to storm preparation than stocking up on bread and milk, use these tips to protect your home and family well before a storm strikes.
Protecting The Inside Of Your Home
During a severe winter storm, your home is going to be your safe bunker where you can wait out the bad weather, making it very important that your home’s interior is prepared for such a job. Your first task will be to keep your pipes warm. Although the rest of your home may be appropriately toasty, pipes located in attics, basements, crawl spaces, and the backs of cabinets do not get the same amount of heat and can freeze.
Wrap these pipes with insulation and open any kitchen or bathroom cabinets containing pipes to encourage warm air to circulate. Every year, homeowners remodel over 10.2 million kitchens and 14.2 million bathrooms, and it can be easy to forget that your recent remodel may have a different pipe set-up. Make sure you account for all pipes and let water drip slowly from your new faucets to keep water flowing through them.
Protecting The Outside Of Your Home
Of course, the outside of your home is going to be the most vulnerable to the elements of a blizzard. While your landscaping’s deciduous trees are able to block between 60% and 90% of the sun’s rays in the summer, they should be trimmed back in the winter so that they don’t pose any threat of falling onto your home.
You will also want to keep as many paths out of your home as clear as possible so that your family has easy exit points if necessary. If you know a storm is coming, clear out your storm drains as well. When the snow melts, it will need somewhere to go and you don’t want it to go into your basement if the drains are clogged. This type of clearing is also important for your gutters so that water doesn’t back up and freeze. Trimming any hardwood trees on your property, which can take anywhere from 40 to 60 years to fully mature, is essential for this reason as well. Stray branches can get caught in gutters and cause disastrous backups.
Protecting Your Family
While protecting the inside and outside of your home will, in turn, keep your family safe as well, there are specific steps you can take to further guarantee their safety. Put together an easily accessible snowstorm emergency kit well in advance of any oncoming storms. This kit should include blankets, matches or lighters, flashlights, supplies of bottled water and non-perishable food, a first aid kit, and a portable power pack for electronic devices.
Everyone in the home should know exactly where this kit is in case of emergency and they should also know the predetermined family communication snowstorm plan. This plan should outline which family members will contact each other if a storm hits and not everyone is at home. Be sure to account for children and elderly family members, even if they do not live with you. About 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices, such as canes, to aid their mobility, but if they misplace these devices or face other obstacles a storm can turn into a real danger.
When you’re prepared for weather-related disaster, you’ll be better able to make it through the storm without incident. Be sure to prepare your vehicle as well with an emergency kit, winter tires, and a bag of sand in case you need to leave the house to seek better safety after the storm has passed. Make these preparations now and save yourself the worry of what might happen in a storm.