Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Preparing for a Winter Storm--Part Four

Preparing for a Winter Storm--Part Four of our February Series

22. Keep your cell phone charging. If the power goes out, it will still be at full strength. If you are in your car, keep it charging while you drive so it doesn’t drain.
23. Check transportation schedules before you go. If you take a train or bus, check to see if they are on time and running a full schedule. You may be stuck at work if they cancel trains. Do you have a place to stay if that happens? Don’t get caught walking or driving to the station, only to find out al trains have been canceled.
24. Call your destination before you go. If you are scheduled to work or fly, check to see that your place of work is open or flights are still operating. If you must shop or get gas, call first before venturing out.
25. Check on any elderly neighbors, friends or relatives. Do they need help shoveling out? Did they lose power? Do they have enough food?
26. Don’t go out unless absolutely necessary. Not only will this keep you safe, but less drivers means less chance for accidents, and a better opportunity to plow and salt streets. Listen to the news before you go.
27. Use the time as quality time with your family. Make it a movie or game night. Share stories in front of the fire, or bake some cookies.

We can't always predict when a catasrophe will happen, but if we are prepared, the journey home will be much easier.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Preparing for a Winter Storm--Part Three

Part Three--Preparing for a Winter Storm

15. Do you have medications that will be expiring in the next few days? Fill them now, in case you can’t get out during or after the storm.

16. Have plenty of cash on hand. ATM machines may not be working or you may need to pay/tip service personnel.

17. Keep your pets safe in this weather. Protect their feet by using a de-icer that is safe for their paws. If you walk them, watch for salt on the streets, and wipe their feet when they come inside. Check for salt between their toes.

18. Do not let pets stay outside too long in severe weather. Although they have fur coats, they are still susceptible to exposure. Dry them off when they come inside.

19. If you anticipate a winter storm on a day you have a doctor’s appointment or other such engagement, cancel them ahead of time, rather than on that day, so the office can schedule their staff accordingly.

20. Stock up on firewood. If your heat goes out, this may be your only source of warmth.

21. What alternate power sources do you have if the electricity goes out? Purchase a generator to at least keep minimum power on. Have new batteries for your flashlights. If you use candles, never leave them unattended in a room.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Preparing for a Winter Storm--Part Two

Continuing our series--Preparing for a Winter Storm--Part 2
Here are more tips for keeping safe in the cold winter months.

8. Always keep extra food and beverages in your car. This includes water, energy bars, etc. Select items that are not perishable and keep well in cold weather.
9. Keep an extra hat, scarf and pair of mittens or gloves in your car. In case you get stranded while driving, you will have something to keep warm if you left the house without these items.
10. Make sure you have plenty of gas in car. Snow usually means longer travel times. Sitting in traffic uses up fuel, so fill up before the storm.
11. Keep salt or sand and a small shovel in your trunk. If you get stuck in a drift or pile of snow, this will help get you out of your predicament.
12. Are your tires in good shape? Bald tires provide poor traction. If you haven’t checked your tires lately, take your car in for servicing.
13. Are your brakes working? Check fluid levels. Also, have a mechanic check your brake pads for wear. If they are starting to get bad, replace them now, before all the ‘stop and go’ you’ll be doing in a storm.
14. Have enough food in your home for at least three full days of meals, ideally a week in case you can’t get out, or the trucks can’t get to the stores to deliver.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Preparing for a Winter Storm--Part One

Back in 1967, the blizzard that hit Chicago caught the city and its residents by surprise. In 2011, with better technology and communications, we knew it was coming. That didn't make it any easier. But it did give us time to prepare. Here are some things you should do to prepare for a winter storm.

1. Is your snowblower working properly? If you had it serviced in the fall, you are probably in good shape. But try starting it anyway, so you can take it in BEFORE the snow arrives.

2. Even if your snowblower is working, do you have gas and oil for it? Have an extra gallon of gas on hand also. If there is a lot of snow, you will need to run it for longer than usual.

3. Are your shovels in good condition? Are the edges straight and even, or nicked and bent? Do you have a plastic shovel for wooden stairs and decks?

4. Purchase several bags or buckets of salt/de-icer. You can not only use it while it's snowing, but also when it starts to melt and turns into ice on your walks or driveway. If you have pets, purchase the pet-friendly de-icer for areas they use.

5. Wear warm clothing when shoveling. Wear layers, rather than one heavy coat. A turtleneck, hoodie and windbreaker work great for keeping you warm and dry. Remember a scarf and hat also. Two thin pair of socks under waterproof boots are best, and gloves under mittens will keep hands warm.

6. Be careful shoveling. Even those in the best shape can injure themselves if they aren't careful. Push rather than lift, keep piles low, and know when you have had enough. Do the work in smaller increments if the snow is heavy.

7. Winds will be strong. Secure all belongings outside, including furniture, garbage cans and tarps.