Hazardous snow and ice can hit from October into April in many parts of the country. Being prepared means having what you need at home, and staying there when possible. If you must leave home, an emergency preparedness kit for your vehicle is essential.
Preparing for a Blizzard: What you Need at Home
These blizzard safety tips will keep you safe and ready in your home.
- Check the weather forecast daily, so you’ll know when blizzard conditions are expected
- Shop ahead of time to have 3-5 days of non-perishable food on hand plus enough bottled water for one gallon per day per person
- Place flashlights with fresh batteries in several locations where they can be easily reached if you lose power in the dark
- Keep a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio on hand to listen to emergency weather information
- Keep your mobile phone battery fully charged for maximum life in a power outage, and if you do lose power, use the phone only for necessary calls
- Have a 5 to 7-day supply on hand of required prescription medications
- If you have a fireplace, have a supply of wood on hand
- If you do not have a fireplace, consider having an alternate method of heating such as a kerosene or propane heater approved for indoor use
- Stock up on baby supplies including food and diapers
- Ditto for pet supplies, and bring outdoor pets indoors
Preparing for a Blizzard: What You Need Outside
The Red Cross staying indoors during severe weather, but if you must go outside your home, these tips will help.
- Wear warm clothing including gloves, hat and scarf. Exposed skin can become frost-bitten in just a few minutes in extreme cold and wind.
- If pets go out with you, keep them on leashes because they can become disoriented quickly in blizzard conditions and wander into roadways or get lost and perish without shelter
- When icy conditions are present, have an effective traction product on hand. Salt-based and non-salt ice melt products are one option, but they work slowly and are not effective in extreme cold. A better choice is to any surface at any temperature. It is ideal for slick steps and walkways.
Preparing for a Blizzard: What you Need in your Car
See the list below for items to have in a vehicle emergency kit.
First, though, have your vehicle serviced before bad weather hits. Make sure the brake pads and tires are in good condition and have plenty of life left. Ask your mechanic to check all fluid levels including antifreeze and brake fluid. Replace headlamps and hazard lights that aren’t working. Install a fresh set of wiper blades, if needed. Finally, keep your vehicle’s gas tank full or near full.
The US government site recommends minimizing travel. If you must venture out on the road, keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with these supplies:
- Two days-worth of food and water
- Full-charged phone and charger
- Heavy winter clothing and blankets
- Medical prescriptions
- Chemical hand/feet warmers
- Flashlights with fresh batteries
- First Aid kit
- Battery jumper cables
- Durable shovel
- Emergency flares or lights
- Fluorescent distress flag
- Tow chain or rope
Whether you are prepared for a blizzard can be the difference between staying safe and experiencing dangerous situations or long delays waiting for help. These winter storm tips will help you be ready for extreme weather this season.