“Winter is coming.” Actually, it’s already here. The issue then becomes, “Are you ready for winter?” Obviously, if you live in a designated “snow zone,” then you can expect more of the white stuff this year. Even if your life in a traditional “hot zone,” these preparedness tips can apply for any disaster such as torrential rains, flooding, mudslides, and earthquakes. All those things that Mother Nature sends out to remind us she’s in charge! Here are the proactive winter prep tips you should make for your home and car.
Winter Prep For the Home:
Alternate Heat Source
Supposed the power goes out for a day or longer? Will you be able to keep your family warm? If you have a fireplace, then you should make sure it has been cleaned out, and you’ve got a good supply of wood on hand. A portable power generator can be utilized to power up a space heater. If those two items are absent, you might want to set up a camp in the living room. Sharing a tent indoors with the family overnight can keep everyone warm as they share body heat. It could also be the perfect excuse to build a pillow fort.
Backup Food, Water & Medications
This is a must have on your winter prep list. If you couldn’t leave your home for two days, would you be able to survive on the amount of food and stored water you have there? It never hurts to keep an extra gallon or case of water in the garage. Plus, canned goods will always do in a pinch. If the power does go out, start by eating the leftovers and frozen food before moving onto the canned goods. Also, keep in mind that you should have backup supplies of food for pets and babies. Medications are also vital to keep filled. Don’t wait until you only have one pill left! Food, water, and medications are essential if you are under house arrest due to a blizzard.
Have a Go Bag
What if you get the call to evacuate your home and you only have 15 minutes? It happens more often than you would think. This is why you should have a go bag at the ready. Inside should be several changes of clothes for you and everyone in the family. You might also want to pack up spare cell phone chargers, diapers (if required) and blankets. Additionally, you should have all your important documents together in a single file that is easily accessible. A portable lock box would be great to keep things like passports, Social Security Cards, and insurance papers. Then you just grab the box. As for all your photos, take the time now to scan everything onto a computer. It will be a lot easier carrying a flash drive than dozens of hanging portraits.
Winter Prep For the Car:
Gas Up, Oil Swap & Antifreeze
During the winter, you should always be traveling with at least a half tank of gas. Even if you don’t have to evacuate, it will help prevent your gas lines from freezing up if the car is stuck on the driveway buried under snow for several days. You should also change your oil before it gets cold. Many car manufacturers who recommend a different grade of oil for the winter. Check that owner’s manual you never read! While you’re at it, make sure your antifreeze levels are up to the line.
If your tire treads are wearing thin, then winter is the time to get them replaced. Much like selling air conditioners in the summer, you might find that snow tires in the winter are an expensive proposition. If you can get your tires replaced before the snow starts falling, then you might get a better deal.
Have an Emergency Road Kit
No one plans to get stuck in a blizzard on the middle of a highway. This winter, count how many times it happens. To make sure you’re ready, you should have an emergency road kit that contains items like blankets, flashlights, snow scrapers, road salt and jumper cables. You should also have a bag with gloves, scarves, hats, sweaters and blankets. Check out more driving tips in the following infographic:
All of this winter prep work falls under the category of “Better to have and not need than to need and not have.” Think about that the next time it rains or snows!
Update 2/13/2017: This post was updated to include updated sources.