It’s time to find the shovel. While many may have thought they were going to make it through this winter without a major snow storm, Mother Nature has decided different. The Northeast and parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest are under blizzard and winter storm warnings, and there are still steps you can take to prepare.
1. Have at least three days of food, water and any necessary prescription medications on hand for everyone in your household, including pets. Try to make sure you have food that doesn’t need to be cooked, in case of a power outage.
2. Know what the different warnings and alerts mean. Listen to forecasts and pay attention to what’s predicted to hit your area so you can make sure you’re in a safe location in plenty of time before the storm begins. If possible, get a battery operated weather radio that will work if the power goes out.
3. In case of a power outage, know what additional sources of heat you have available to you, whether it’s using a fireplace, generator, wood stove or another source. Additionally, know how to use your alternative heat source safely and never use a generator inside.
4. Be cautious when shoveling snow and do so in shifts to avoid working to the point of exhaustion. Try to push the snow rather than lifting it. If you do need to lift the snow, don’t overload the shovel and make sure to lift with your legs and not your back.
5. Stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, and if you must travel, be prepared and don’t go alone. Notify someone of where you’re going, what your route options are, what time you leave and what time you expect to get there. Make sure your car has an emergency kit in it with food, water, blankets, flares, a flashlight and batteries, a small shovel, extra dry clothing and outerwear, a first aid kit and other essentials.
6. Don’t forget about pets! Make sure they are brought inside, or have access to dry shelter where they have fresh water that doesn’t freeze. If possible, dress dogs in coats or sweaters and consider putting boots on them to go outside. If your pet is not wearing boots, make sure to clean their feet when you go back inside so chemicals from deicer and ice melt products don’t damage their paws.