Although it’s much more fun to focus on all the good food, gifts, and memorable moments that wintertime brings with it, taking the time to prepare for extreme cold weather can save you and your family a lot of trouble.
Unexpected winter storms can quickly put a damper on the festivities by disrupting travel, central heating, and much more.
If you live in an area with a high risk of extreme cold weather, stay ahead of the game by following the precautions below.
This safety guide will show you how to prepare your home and car for the unexpected so you can protect yourself, your family, and your livelihood.
How to Prepare Your Home
Not all winter storms are created equal. But when you’re preparing for them, it’s always best to plan for the worst-case scenario.
Blizzards and other extreme cold weather events can stick around anywhere from a few hours to several days — freezing over roads, clocking dangerously high wind speeds, and raising the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
They can also knock out your power, cutting off your supply of electricity and heat, and worst of all, increasing the likelihood that your children, elderly loved ones, and pets will get sick from the cold.
That’s why every second you spend preparing for extreme winter weather is worth it.
With the help of ready.gov and the Centers for Disease Control, we put this list of preventive tips together to turn your home into a weatherproof winter fortress. Check them out below:
- Stock your home with enough food, water, and supplies to last for days without power. Essential supplies include batteries, flashlights, radios, portable cell phone chargers, medication, pet food and supplies, and any necessary special items for family members with health conditions.
- Apply caulk and weather strips to your doors and windows to keep the extreme cold out.
- Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, and keep backup batteries on hand.
- Add insulation to your walls, attic, and any water lines that run through exterior walls to keep them from freezing.
- Consider adding exterior storm shutters to your windows for extra protection from flying debris.
- When temperatures are at or below freezing for an extended period of time, keep one of your faucets at a constant drip to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Make sure you know where the main water valve is in your home in case a pipe bursts due to the cold. And schedule a family meeting to brief them on how to shut it off, so they know what to do if you’re not home when it happens. This preventive measure could save you and your family from an extreme house flood. Not to mention, it can save you a lot of money too!
- Make sure your roof is free of leaks. The better shape your roof is in, the less the cold can get in.
- Cut down any tree branches that may break off and damage your house.
- Plan on using your fireplace to stay warm? Schedule yearly chimney and flue inspections to ensure it’s safe to use.
How to Prepare Your Car
Unexpected weather doesn’t wait until it’s convenient to strike. You may be driving when a dangerous storm hits…
But if you prepare your car for the winter, you can minimize your risk of accidents and injuries.
Schedule any necessary maintenance and run the following spot checks to get your car ready for the extreme elements:
- Check your tires to make sure they have enough pressure and tread to handle snowy or icy roads — including your spare tire!
- Replace your wiper fluid with a winter formula to keep it from freezing.
- Top off your gas tank as often as possible throughout the winter. Keeping the tank and fuel lines full will prevent them from freezing.
The next step is to build an emergency weather kit to keep in your car in case you get stuck on the road.
The last thing you want is for your vehicle to stop working in the middle of a blizzard and not have what you need to stay warm and keep yourself fed and hydrated.
To set yourself up with the best chance of success, make sure your extreme weather safety kit includes the following items:
- Plenty of warm clothes — gloves, beanies, hats, coats, jackets, socks, etc.
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable snacks
- A windshield ice scraper
- A portable cell phone charger or two
- A flashlight or two with backup batteries
- Jumper cables
- A tow rope
- A snow shovel
- A bag of sand — for traction if you get stuck in the snow.
Unfortunately, you can’t see every major weather event coming. But with these safety precautions, you and your family will have everything you need to stay safe and healthy.
Help in Just Two Taps — Rain, Sleet, or Snow
No matter the weather, the Rescu app is the fastest way to get help in an emergency.
With just two taps on your smartphone, you can instantly dispatch emergency responders to your address or your exact location anywhere in the United States.
This service is crucial if you become stuck during an extreme cold weather event.
You may know which road you’re on, but trying to explain exactly where you are to a 911 operator may be impossible when all you can see out the window is white.
When you send an alert with Rescu, the app uses GPS technology to identify your location and communicate it to the nearest emergency dispatch center — removing the need to talk to a dispatcher.
Not to mention, you’ll save a lot of screen time in a situation where your cell phone battery is critical to your survival.
The app also allows you to add a list of emergency contacts, and whenever you send an alert, it notifies them that you’re in a crisis via text message.
Whether you’re spending your holiday season at home or out of town, Rescu is the perfect addition to your winter weather safety plan.
Click below to download today. Services start as low as $7 a month!