How to prepare for a Winter storm and stay safe

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Winter Storms can cause a lot of problems, like cutting off your heat, power and phone service for a long time. You need to be ready for that. Here are some basic tips:

  • Keep your pipes from freezing by opening the cabinets under the sinks or letting the water drip a little.
  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure they work and have extra batteries.
  • Charge your phone, laptop and other devices. Think about what you and your family need, like medicine.
  • Have enough food and water for everyone in your house for at least three days. Joann Sands, a nursing professor at the University at Buffalo, says you should choose foods that last long, don’t need cooking and are not too spicy or salty. That way, you won’t drink too much water.

Here are some examples of foods you should have before Winter storm:

  • Foods that have a lot of protein and don’t go bad, like energy bars, protein bars and fruit bars. Sands teaches students how to get ready for disasters and emergencies.
  • Dry cereal, granola, peanut butter, dried fruit and milk that doesn’t need to be in the fridge.
  • Foods that make you feel good and calm when you eat them. They are not necessary, but they can help you cope with the Winter storm.
  • Canned foods that you can eat without cooking, like meat, fruit, vegetables and juice. Don’t forget to have a can opener that you can use by hand. Ready.gov says that.
  • Canned foods that are good for older or sick people, like diet foods, juice and soup. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says that.
  • Don’t eat from cans that look bad, like swollen, dented or rusty.

You also need to have enough water for everyone in your house, including your pets. The CDC says you should have three days’ worth of water. FEMA says you should have one gallon of water per person per day. The best water to have is the water that you buy in bottles. Check the date on the bottle to make sure it’s not expired.

Here are some other things you should have before Winter storm:

  • Plastic bags and containers. You can use them to store foods that can go bad, like cookies. FEMA says that.
  • Paper plates, cups and utensils. If you don’t have electricity or water, you can use them to eat your food safely. The CDC says that.
  • Baby and pet supplies. Don’t forget about them when you prepare. Sands says you should have enough baby formula and diapers. You should also have food, medicine and treats for your pets. They might be stressed by the Winter storm too.
  • Hygiene products. Make sure you have what you need, like pads, tampons, toilet paper, wet wipes, paper towels and hand sanitizer.
  • An emergency kit. You should always have one ready, in a box that you can carry easily. Put it near the door of your house. It should have:
    • Food and water for three days.
    • A radio and a flashlight that work with batteries. Have extra batteries too.
    • A first-aid kit with a manual. It will tell you what to do if someone gets hurt.
    • Things to keep you clean, like soap, toothpaste and toothbrush.
    • Matches in a container that doesn’t let water in. You can use them to start a fire if you need to.
    • A whistle. You can use it to call for help if you need to.
    • Clothes, blankets and sleeping bags. They will keep you warm and comfortable.
    • Cards with your name, address, phone number and other important information. Have some money and a credit card too. You might need them.
    • A paper and a pencil. You can use them to write notes or draw pictures.
    • Things for your baby and your pet. You already know what they are.
    • Things that you need or want, like medicine, contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids and toys or games for your kids.
    • Face masks. They will protect you from germs and Covid-19.

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