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Winter Preparedness in Your Home

Posted by IKO Community Management on January 30, 2014 at 5:53 AM

Will you be ready if the power goes out in your home this winter? IKO Community Management wants to share important tips in case of an emergency during the winter months. Bread and milk are not the only import items to have when a winter storm approaches.

One of the most important things to do in preparing for winter weather is to run through scenarios and figure out what you might need in these various situations if they should arise. What if the power goes out for more than a day? How will I cook food with no electricity? Do I have an alternative heat source to keep the home warm? What if we have an ice storm and a tree falls on my home? Have I explained to my children, spouse or roommate the plan should an emergency event happen? Being prepared before a winter storm approaches will have you ready and lighten the stress. Planning now will prepare you for comfort later.

Start out by making sure you have batteries and flashlights. The newer ultra-efficient flashlights are inexpensive and will brighten any room. Reversing the batteries in flashlight will reduce burnout and add life to the batteries while not in use. Candles can be used but be aware that hundreds of house fires start every year during power outages. If you must use candles, place them away from anything that could catch fire. Keep them up high where small children and pets cannot reach or knock them over. Flashlights are the best alternative! Make sure to have a fresh pack of batteries tucked away. Also keep a battery-powered radio at hand, because power outages are common during storms. The radio will enable you to know what is going on and what to expect.

During a power outage, most homes will lose their heat source. If you have a woodstove or fireplace, make sure to have extra logs close by. Keeping them covered and dry till needed as this will help make it easier to start and maintain a nice warm fire. If your budget allows, a home generator is a great investment and could come in handy if your area is prone to power outages. Kerosene space heaters and other combustion-based sources of heat are not ideal for the home. If you must use one of these types, please make sure they are operated properly. Safety is number 1! You absolutely need to make sure that whatever alternative source of heat you plan on using during an outage is clean, operational, and that everyone who will be using it understands how to use it safely. Clean out the chimney before you need it and give that kerosene heater a trial run when you’re not under pressure.

Layers of clothing and extra blankets might be necessary until the power returns. Have extra’s nearby for easy access should the temperatures start to drop. Items such as hats, mittens, gloves, and coats can be kept in a basket in the closet.

Keeping a well-stocked pantry can hold you through until the power resumes. Stock up on foods that can last for a long time without refrigeration or cooking, such as canned foods, peanuts, crackers, cereal, and dried fruit. If there has been advance warning of the storm’s approach, stock up on bread, milk, and other foods. If there are young children in the household, remember to buy baby food and formula. Buy cases of bottled water for use in case the pipes freeze. Don’t wait until a snow storm approaches! Many stores will be overwhelmed and out of necessary supplies.

Keep a first-aid kit and other necessary medication at hand. Accidents can happen in the dark! Also, make sure if you take medication regularly, prepare to have extra called in and picked up prior to the winter storms arrival.

Communications during a power outage can be difficult. Keeping your cell phone charged and make sure you have a car charger for it are important. Did you know the American Red Cross sells a hand held crank battery charger? If your phone has a charger with a USB port, this could be a life saver. Also, it can be used as a flashlight. Make a family communications plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

Familiarize yourself with your home. Know where water and gas shutoff valves are and which circuit breakers go to which parts of your home. It may not seem important now, but if a tree should come crashing into your kitchen, you’ll want to know things like how to shut the water down or the electricity supply until help arrives. Share this information with family members in case you are not home if a disaster happens.

For the outside of your home, have snow shovels, sand, and ice-melt readily available to take care of your sidewalks and driveways. Keep your gas tank in your car at least, half full. Minimize travel if you can. If travel is necessary, keep a winter supply kit in your vehicle.

Don’t let the power outage put you in the dark. Many of these items you may already have in your home and with a little organization, you’ll have a plan together and emergency items in place. Creating a home emergency kit can be simple and have you prepared for the worst. IKO Community Management wants your winter to be a safe one until the lights come back on!

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Topics: Homeowners