A generator for backup electricity to service refrigerators and freezers during an electrical outage is a great idea but not everyone has one. If you don’t, instruct family members not to open appliances once power goes out. The exception to this would be if you do so immediately and remove enough food that does not need cooking to carry the family through the rest of the day, such as cold cuts, cheese and beverages. Consider moving your camping stove to the pantry each fall in preparation for winter storm cooking.
If you are able to purchase a generator, call Mike at D4 Construction in Kamloops to come install it for you so it will be ready to go the moment you need it. You can reach him at +1 250-572-4812. Often this time of year they go on sale and it may make sense to make that investment now, especially if you experience severe weather.
Is your pantry stocked for possible power outages?
Be sure it’s ready for that possibility by keeping lots of bottled water and food that’s easily opened. Think pudding, trail mix,applesauce, peanut butter and breakfast bars. Be well stocked in your family’s medication needs. Be sure to have extra baby and pet food on hand, as well, if that applies to your family.
This is the time to replace batteries in flashlights. At the least, be sure to have plenty of extras in the sizes you need. Strategically place flashlights and other emergency lighting around the house and in every bedroom. Be sure every person in the home knows where one is in their
Rechargeable emergency LED light bulbs are now available in stores, or easily found online as well. These recharge in your lamps or elsewhere during normal use but automatically turn on the moment power is lost. They provide approximately three hours of light and some come with a hook cap, enabling the homeowner to walk around their house with this portable light.
What about your storm radio?
This is a terrific small investment if you don’t already have one. Be sure it’s handy and also tuned to your local station. Check for fresh batteries in it. Every household member should know where it’s located. The same goes for a first aid kit for
emergencies. If not an actual kit, gather together all the typical items found in one and keep it in a spot that everyone is aware of. A large open basket works well to corral your bandages, gauze, medical tape, ointment and anything else you want to keep there. Extra batteries can be kept there, as well.
Be winter ready…
This is the time to pull out the winter blankets and place them around the house. One extra blanket in each bedroom, as well as throws on sofas and chairs around the house, ensure extra warmth when snowed in and power is lost.
Keep extra toques and gloves in the car, along with a couple of throw blankets, sand or kitty litter, jumper cables, a flashlight, water and non-perishable snacks. Bear in mind that most mobile phones have a flashlight built into them. Learn how to use it in an emergency, but don’t depend on them since it will use up precious battery power. Remember to take mobile device chargers with you if you do have to leave home and travel somewhere with electricity. Keep mobile devices charged up every day during severe weather while you have power in your home. You never know when you may suddenly lose it. But do stay off the roads if at all possible during severe weather.
Snow melt, sand or kitty litter for walkways should be in the garage or at least handy somewhere. The time to get it is not when a storm is moving in since these, batteries and bottled water will be among the first items to sell out at stores. If you’re interested in making snow melt yourself, check online ahead of time for homemade recipes. Additionally, be sure to keep your gas tank full during winter.
If you’ve planned ahead for your wood-burning fireplace or stove…
…you may have a covered shed to store your firewood. If not, this spring you should contact Mike at D4 (+1 250-572-4812) to build one for the future. It’s never a good idea to store the wood against the house because of its attraction to termites and other pests, but a covered area is all you need. Have your chimney cleaned now, too, especially if it hasn’t been done in recent years.
Do you own a snow blower? If so, make sure it’s in good working order and it’s ready to go. If not, fill it, prep it or fix it now. Dig out those snow shovels, too, so they’re readily available at the drop of a snowflake.
Shut the outside water spigots since you won’t be using your hose anytime soon most likely. Also have a professional drain and shut down your lawn sprinkler and pool water systems if you have them and haven’t done so already.
Taking care of the outside
Outside on your property, check tree limbs in danger of coming down onto your roof. Remove them now if needed to avoid a bigger problem should snow and ice break them. If there is a fire hydrant at the road near your property and a big storm is expected, do your local emergency workers a favor and place an upside-down garbage pail over it. Alternatively, you can place a tall stick with a brightly-coloured ribbon tied near the top and place it next to the hydrant. It will attract the attention of fire fighters, if needed. After the snow melts away, keep the stick in
your garage for the next time.
Similarly, keep the entrance to your driveway shovelled since typically the plows create a hill of icy snow along the edge of the road – and across driveways – as they clear the streets.
Finally, if you’re sending your children outside to play in the snow anyway, why not encourage them to shovel the walk or driveway of someone nearby who cannot. In the spirit of neighbourly care for one another, check on elderly neighbors and those who could use a little help, especially if power is out and they’re scared and alone.
Wintertime can be both beautiful and inconvenient at times, but with a little planning ahead of time, your home and property can be storm-ready.