Preparing for a Winter Storm – What You Need to Know
Winter storms cause major problems in the Carolinas because the states lack infrastructure to quickly handle uncommon situations. That makes preparedness even more important. If a storm is bad enough you can find yourself without heat or other services for an extended time. Here are a few tips from ReadyNC for preparing for a winter storm.
Tips on preparing for a winter storm:
- Check your Home Insurance policy and consider adding Service Line Coverage.
- Restock or update your winter-specific emergency kit.
- Make a family communications plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so know how you will get in touch with one another, how you will get back together, and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Listen to a NOAA weather radio or other local news channels for important information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Know when weather changes.
- Try not to travel. If travel is needed, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
- Bring pets inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
- Make sure you have a good amount of heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off.
- If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood.
- NEVER use a charcoal grill or camp stove indoors for either cooking or heating. The fumes can be toxic.
Tips to help winterize your home:
- Winterize your home to by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may give shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment.
- Clear rain gutters. Fix roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Keep heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and checked every year.
- Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to keep from freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps keep pipes from freezing.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand. Make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires can be an extra risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the needed safety precautions.
- Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
- Hire a skilled contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to hold unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.