In many areas around the world, a blizzard is a regular occurrence during the winter season. But with more people moving to new areas where weather is so different than anything they’ve ever experienced before, a “blizzard preparedness refresher course” is never out of place!
If this describes you, or even if you are already a blizzard expert, it is always good to review blizzard safety with your family before winter arrives again.
In this article, learn 10 ways to prepare yourself this winter for a blizzard.
According to AccuWeather, a blizzard is a storm of at least three hours duration that includes winds at a strength of 35 MPH (miles per hour) or higher and visibility of one-quarter mile or less.
Following blizzard safety protocols is of critical importance as blizzards regularly claim lives each year.
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Safeguard your water source by wrapping your pipes.
Pipe insulation is one of the best ways to guard against having your pipes freeze during a blizzard storm. When a blizzard arrives, the wind chill can drive temperatures down so quickly that there is no time to get out and wrap up pipes and start a faucet drip. For this reason, you want to have your pipes well insulated before winter hits.
What to do: You can buy cheap foam insulation material at any local home repair store. Use this to wrap your interior pipes. You can also purchase cheap foam caps to place over exterior spigots as another form of insulation.
Store a ready supply of drinking water for your whole family – including pets.
You will absolutely need a ready source of potable water if a blizzard knocks out services to your area. According to Homeland Security, under emergency circumstances, each person should be allotted at least one gallon of water per day for each day of the emergency.
What to do: Assume that each member of your household will need at least one gallon of water per day for at least three days. Then stock enough drinking water to meet that need plus water for any household pets or livestock.
Stock up your pantry with emergency food rations.
If a blizzard heads your way, cooking may not be an option unless you have a propane-based camping cookstove you can use in a pinch. If this is the case, be sure you have some emergency propane on hand as well! So for the rest of your food stores, you will need to remember you likely won’t be able to cook or even warm up your food.
What to do: Peanut butter and jelly is always good to keep on hand, as are canned goods like soup, fruits, vegetables and beans. Be sure whatever you buy combines well with the other items you stock up on.
Otherwise you may end up having to eat some pretty strange meals while you are waiting for power to come back on and the roads to be cleared!
Assemble a working emergency first aid kit and train everyone to use it.
Here, it is easy to forget that you don’t just need the first aid supplies – you need to know how to use them as well. In an emergency, you won’t have time to read up on what to do or how to do it (and if you were planning to search the internet for instructions, well, power isn’t likely to be available for that).
So you will need to be sure everyone in your household who is of age knows how to do basic first aid with the supplies in the family kit.
What to do: Be sure your kit includes band-aids, sterile gauze, medical tape, scissors, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial ointment, sutures and a needle, pain medication, extras of any prescription medications for people and pets, Benadryl or similar anti-allergy medication and a flashlight with extra batteries.
Also consider a hand-crank or battery powered radio, waterproof matches or a lighter, candles, wool blankets, an emergency heat blanket and an emergency power charger for smart devices.
Make a second emergency kit to store in your car.
Many people are caught in their car each year when a blizzard suddenly blows through. If this happens to you, you want to be sure you are prepared!
What to do: In addition to the household emergency supplies, you will want to be sure your car emergency kit includes flares, jumper cables, extra antifreeze and windshield washing fluid, an ice scraper, tire chains and plenty of blankets.
Buy extra blankets.
Wool is best, since it naturally wicks away moisture and retains heat. But any blankets are better than none!
Create play bags for kids.
If there is one thing more stressful than simply holing up to wait out a blizzard, it is having to hole up with restless, bored, grumpy kiddos. So have some emergency play bags pre-assembled to bring out as needed.
What to do: If you had to entertain your children without the aid of any electronics for a full day or longer, what would you do? This question will help you assemble suitable play supplies for use during a weather emergency.
Get your car a pre-winter checkup.
You want to be sure your vehicle is in prime working condition just in case a blizzard strikes.
What to do: In particular, be sure your car battery is fresh, your antifreeze and windshield washing fluid levels and other fluid levels are high, your oil is recently changed and your tires are full of air and fully treaded.
Make sure you have made emergency preparations for pets and livestock too.
If a blizzard heads your way, your pets and/or livestock will be depending on you for their very survival.
What to do: You will need to have sufficient water, food and supplies on hand to help them endure the storm.
Clean and check your fireplace or other emergency heating source.
More home fires take place during winter than at any other time of the year. So if you have your eye on your fireplace, wood stove or other emergency heating appliance, be sure it is clean, in good working condition and safe to use and that you have plenty of dry wood/fuel safely stored away.
What to do: Schedule time for a safety inspection/cleaning and test run of any emergency heating unit.
Protecting Your Family From The Next Winter Storm
Blizzards are severe storms worth taking very seriously indeed. However, don’t let the possibility of a blizzard heading your way scare you to the point where you put off doing anything to prepare for it!
You still have plenty of time before winter arrives in earnest and conditions for a blizzard become favorable. So just take one tip at a time until you have created a blizzard preparedness plan you feel confident about.