Although infrequent, winter weather can be a real danger, especially to the elderly or disabled. The best way to weather the storm is to make sure you’re adequately prepared. Here are a few tips for maximizing your winter storm preparedness.
The key to winter storm preparedness is staying informed about the weather. Knowing a winter storm is approaching is important, as it allows you to adequately prepare before it arrives. Be sure to check weather forecasts regularly in the winter and keep a battery-powered radio on hand, as it will allow you to find out what’s happening should the power go out in a storm.
Supplies to Keep on Hand
If a winter storm does hit, you’ll want to avoid traveling as much as possible. Keep your home stocked with emergency supplies so that you can wait out the storm as necessary. Although you should try to minimize driving in a winter storm, stock your car as well so you’re prepared if you have to go somewhere.
- Water: If the pipes freeze, you won’t have access to water. Before the storm hits, make sure you reserve about three gallons per person.
- Food: When a storm is looming, it’s a good idea to go to the grocery store and make sure the pantry is well stocked. Be sure to have some food on hand that doesn’t have to be cooked, just in case the power goes out.
- Radio: A radio can be an important link to the outside world. A battery-operated radio and extra batteries will keep you informed, even if the power goes out.
- Ice melt and sand: If you have to go outside, make sure you can get around safely by keeping something to melt the ice on walkways and sand to provide traction.
- Medication: Make sure you have enough medication on hand to outlast the storm.
- Cell phone and charging equipment: Keep a cell phone handy, even if you don’t normally use one. Purchase an external battery for charging a cell phone and check to be sure both are fully charged before a storm.
- Carbon monoxide detector: Most homes now have carbon monoxide detectors in central areas and near bedrooms. Make sure your home has at least one and check the batteries at least once a year.
When a Storm Hits
Once in a while you may get to put your winter storm preparedness to the test. When a storm hits, staying safe is a priority. Here are a few tips.
- Stay inside and minimize travel. During a storm roads can be treacherous, so staying put can help keep you safe. If you do have to go outside, make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the weather, using multiple loose-fitting layers to help you stay warm.
- Beware of overexertion. Before heading outside to shovel, remember to take it easy. Overexertion during extreme weather can bring on a heart attack or increase the risk of frostbite or hypothermia.
- Protect against frozen pipes. Keeping the house the same temperature around the clock will help protect pipes from freezing overnight. If the power goes out, turn faucets on a trickle to keep the water moving and help prevent the pipes from freezing.
- Stay in touch. Communicate with relatives and friends so they know you’re safe and stay in touch throughout the storm.
Occasionally Mother Nature likes to throw us a curve ball. Don’t let her catch you unawares! With a little preparation, you can stay safe and warm during any weather she throws your way.
A Helping Hand
Winter storms can be dangerous for the elderly, as well as neglected home repairs. Sign up for our Simple Saturdays program to create a safe environment for veterans and senior citizens.
With summer temperatures starting to cool down, now is the perfect time to get your home ready for cold weather. There are a number of things that should be done this time of year, both outside and inside the home. Get started on your home with our fall maintenance checklist.
Lawn and Garden
Avoid damage and get your yard ready for next year by making sure you put everything to bed for the winter.
- Rake up your leaves. Don’t “leaf” your lawn covered up come winter! A heavy covering of leaves can suffocate your grass. Instead, compost the leaves or use them as mulch in your garden.
- Care for perennials. Take advantage of the cooler weather and relocate or divide your perennials. When prepping your plants for winter, mulch around the plants (but not over the tops) to help them weather the storms.
- Prune trees and shrubs. Fall is an ideal time to prune away dead branches. Pruning your trees will prevent dead branches from falling over the winter.
- Winterize your sprinkler systems and hoses. In case the metroplex gets a harsh freeze this winter, take this step just to be safe. Turn off valves to outdoor water and store hoses in the garage.
With winter weather not far off, it’s important to make sure your home has its game face on. Check these problem areas to ensure your home’s exterior can withstand the coldest days ahead.
- Clear your gutters. Check your gutters for blockages caused by fallen leaves and other debris, and free up drainage before the winter weather hits.
- Block critter crevices. Check the exterior of your house for any openings where animals could gain access to your home, such as gaps in the siding and spaces under the porch.
- Check and repair roof and siding. When sleet and slush hit Dallas in the winter it can be quite hard on the exterior of your home. Take advantage of mild fall weather to complete any repairs to your roof and siding, and seal your home up before winter weather hits.
- Inspect walkways, patios, and driveways. Fall is also a good time to check out your concrete, stone, and other outdoor surfaces. Winter weather may cause any loose, broken, or cracked pieces to worsen, so take care of any issues now.
Even indoors, there are some helpful tasks that are good to take care of in the fall. Here are a few things to add to your to-do list.
- Check windows and doors for drafts. As the weather cools down, inspect your windows and doors for gaps that could let the cold in. Seal any problem areas with weatherstripping.
- Clean your dryer vents. Dryer vents should be cleaned out periodically, as a buildup of lint could cause the dryer not to work as well, or even start a fire. Clean the vents yourself by unhooking the hose and using a vacuum attachment, or for the best results, have it done professionally.
- Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Replace the batteries in all of your home’s carbon monoxide and smoke detectors once a year in the fall, and check to make sure they are functioning properly.
- Schedule maintenance for heating equipment. It’s been a while since you turned the heat on in your home! For safety and performance, get your furnace or other heating system inspected and tuned up now.
Spring cleaning gets the most air time, but fall shouldn’t be ignored. Taking care of these maintenance items in the fall will protect your home inside and out this year.
Give Back This Fall
Give back this fall by attending Simple Saturday! Together we'll help veterans and senior citizens tackle their home maintenance projects.