Preparing for a Winter StormDon't wait until after a storm hits to panic and head for the store for supplies! Make sure you have:
Always store a few gallons of new water. Get fresh plastic gallon jugs every year - don't rely on the water you got 10 years ago. Keep it in the closet or somewhere safe. Drinkable water is key. Water is one of the basic requirements of human life.
Keep at least one battery operated radio - or better yet, one that has solar power and takes a hand crank too!! Do not rely on TV in an emergency. I've heard people say they'll use their TV for emergency / homeland security issues. The power is the first thing that goes in an emergency! Your real lifeline is a radio, with batteries, backup batteries, solar power and a hand crank. That way even if all the batteries die you can hear what's going on.
Always have a few battery operated flashlights around. I highly recommend the LED ones that also let you "shake them to life" and/or hand crank or solar power. If nothing else the quick shake or crank will get you enough light for you to track down some live batteries! Remember, batteries can always die - your hand-shaking will always work.
Do not rely on candles. Many people accidentally set their homes on fire especially at night. Have flashlights and lanterns - LED last the longest - in your closet.
Keep a supply of pouched and canned food that doesn't need heating. Stock up on tunafish, almonds, whatever it is that you will eat. Make sure you have a few can openers that are manual to open the cans with.
Research a fireplace or generator if you do not have one. Have some way of keeping warm that is safe. Again, many people die from unsafe heating systems that tip over and start fires. If you currently don't have any way of heating your home, get a backup plan in place.
Plan for your pets. Make sure they can be moved into your "warm room" or can come with you to your emergency shelter plan. You do not want the emergency to become even more traumatic.
Water expands when it freezes. If you leave water in your pipes, the water will expand and burst your pipes which can cost thousands to repair. If your home is getting to the freezing-cold point, drain all water out of your system. To do this, first shut off the main incoming water line to the house and drain your water pump and heater. Flush all toilets, open every faucet including outside garden hose connectors.
Siphon / bail out any remaining water you see. If there's just a little water left in the "hook" under the sink for example, that's fine - the water can expand up in either direction. It's solid areas of water you are trying to remove.
Emergency Preparedness Tips