There’s some logic to that old saying that you should get the bread and milk when snow’s coming. In an emergency, roads may be blocked. Stores might be closed. Power may go out. Cash machines might be shut down. And even if you can get to the store, it is open, and you do have cash, other people may have beaten you to the supplies or fuel you need.
So it’s smart to make an emergency kit for your home, your car, your workplace, or your school. Many people also put together general emergency kits and “go bags” of things they need if they have to evacuate due to a gas leak or some other disaster. You can also make kits for pets.1
A few general tips:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put together a great list of winter “to-do’s” for your home, car, and family. A few of these tips:
Stay in touch with news, weather, and family members
Make sure you have a cell phone and a portable charger or extra batteries in case the power goes out.
Keep a battery-powered radio, with extra batteries, for listening to local emergency updates. A good choice is a weather radio that lets you listen to National Weather Service broadcasts. Some new radios also have built-in cell phone chargers.
Make a family communication plan. Plan what you’ll do in an emergency, know how you’ll contact each other, and agree on a place to get back together if you get separated.
Check on older neighbors and family members. Be ready to help if they need you.
Know your winter storm terms, and pay attention to watches, advisories, and warnings. They’re there to save your life.2
Staying warm and safe in your home
First, know that using your cooking stove for heat is not safe. Instead, have at least one of the following on hand in case your electricity goes out:
Space heaters are a major cause of fires in U.S. homes. Even “safety” space heaters can be dangerous. So be smart!
And here are some notes about using a gas-powered emergency electric generator:
Lighting and Cooking
Food and Safety Items
It’s a good idea to have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies. If you live far from other people, have more. Here are items you should have:
Snow can be melted for water. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most germs. However, it won’t get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow.
Staying safe on the road
If the roads are bad, it’s best to stay home. But if travel is a must, have these in your vehicle:
For more tips and details, the CDC publishes a very helpful guide. A PDF is available for free download at the link below.4
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