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Winter Storm Preparedness 

Avoid unnecessary travel and help keep roads clear for snow removal crews and first responders. Even if you don’t live where it snows, you may travel somewhere that does. One of the biggest risks is loss of power, heat, and communication services. Winter storms can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, ice, snow, and high winds. Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Planning and preparing can help keep you and your family safe during a winter storm.

QUICK TIPS

  • Proper Clothes: Layer lightweight clothes to help keep warm (Gloves and hats help prevent your body form losing heat)
  • 3Ft Rule: Keep space heaters 3 feet away from anything flammable items and keep it on a level surface.
  • Protect your home: Prevent pipes form freezing or braking, let water drip from faucet and also keep thermostat at a consistent temperature. (For power outage)
  • Safety: Never use your kitchen appliance to heat your home and operate generators outside your home (NOT even garages) Backdraft due to high winds
  • Don’t forget your pets: If your cold they are too. Bring them in from freezing temperatures.

Check Important Items

Caution: Each year, there are an average of 20,000 visits to the emergency room form Carbon Monoxide poisoning. (highest during colder months)

  • If you are using a generator, make sure it is properly exhausted. Avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. NEVER USE A GENERATOR INDOORS.
  • Make sure your power vent is free from snow cover. If your home heating system has a power vent installed, check to make sure snow drifts are not covering it. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can occur if it is blocked with snow.
  • If you are planning to do laundry, check to make sure your dryer vent is not blocked with snow. Blocked dryer vents can cause fire.
  • Inspect and clear any snow or ice buildup around your sump pump discharge on the sidewall of your house. keep the discharge pipe from freezing to avoid clogging.

Safety Tips

If you are staying somewhere else, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55F. This will help keep your pipes from freezing.

Keep your refrigerator and freezer controls to their coldest settings. In the event of power loss, you will be able to keep food longer.

Keep bathtub filled with water. This water can be used to bathe or flush toilets.

Keep emergency equipment; portable radio, flashlights, candles/matches, spare batteries, first aid kit, and cell phone. Update your personal list of emergency contacts phone numbers (write them down in case cell phone is not available)

Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).

Learn how to manually open and close any electrically powered garage doors and have an alternate way of accessing your home.

Emergency Supply Kit

  • Water for at least a 3-day supply (1 gallon per person per day)--Food for at least a 3-day supply (non-perishable)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7-day supply)
  • Cell phone with chargers (Hand crank charges)
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash (ATM's may not work for a period of time)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)'
  • Pet supplies
  • Sand, rock salt and or cat litter for icy walk ways
  • Warm coats, gloves, hats, boots and extra blankets

During Snowstorms And Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary.
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes.

After The Storm

Melting snow and rain can cause damage to your basement and or crawl space.

Here are some tips to help minimize the damage:

  • Inspect your property for any obstructions that might prevent melting snow from draining.
  • Clear out any basement window wells of snow to prevent it from seeping through basement window.
  • Make sure downspouts drain away from the house. Shovel snow away from downspouts, basement window wells and basement cellar doors.
  • Shovel snow away from the home's walls to reduce water from pooling around the foundation.
  • Remove snow from basement cellar doors and windows to prevent water intrusion and also for emergency access.
  • Remove snow from around exhaust vents on furnaces and dryers.
  • Make sure your power vent is free from snow cover.
  • If your home heating system has a power vent installed, check to make sure snow drifts are not covering it. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can occur if it is blocked with snow.
  • Check to make sure your dryer vent is not blocked with snow. Blocked dryer vents can cause fire.

Check your sump pump for proper operation. (Contact us to have your sump pump serviced)

  • Install a backup sump pump in the event of sump pump failure or power loss.
  • Consider having a Bilge Pump on hand in the event your home takes on water. You can connect a hose to it and pump water out. (You can purchase Bilge Pump from BasementDepot.com )
  • Keep utilities, decks, and service areas clear of snow. Most service companies will not deliver or service homes that are not cleared of snow.

If you get water in your basement or crawl space, Dry any wet materials, carpeting, furniture, insulation and drywall to avoid mold, mildew and further damage.

Reference:

http://farmersalmanac.com

http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather