In terms of harsh weather, most regions of North America have had it easy so far this winter. But before you let this trend lull you into a false sense of security, be sure to take some time to put together a winter storm safety plan so that you’re prepared for the worst.
The safest place to ride out a harsh winter storm is usually your own home, as travel can be treacherous. And with frigid winds whipping around outside, it’s all the more important to make sure your home comfort systems are ready to keep you warm throughout the ordeal.
Before a storm arrives, it’s important to winterize your home. This includes tasks like cleaning your chimney, getting a furnace tune-up, adding insulation and sealing gaps in ductwork, windows and doors. If you have storm windows and doors, be sure to install them in advance of any serious winter weather.
Some winter storms can bring especially brutal temperatures. In these events, you might want to take extra steps to keep your home warm, such as placing plastic wrap on the inside of your windows. You should also gather lots of blankets and stock up on firewood if you have a fireplace or wood burning stove. If you leave your home to avoid the storm, you can turn the thermostat down, but don’t turn it off -- keep it set to at least 55 degrees to avoid damage to your home systems.
After you’ve taken steps to make sure your home will remain warm and comfortable throughout a severe weather event, consider some of the other ways you can prepare:
- Keep your cell phone charged whenever winter weather threatens, and keep your charger handy.
- Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas and is in safe working order.
- Know where your nearby emergency shelters are, and plan multiple routes to reach them in case of road closures.
- Create a plan for every member of your household to check in and know where to go in the event of a storm, just in case bad weather arrives when family members are in different places.
- Keep tabs on any active storm by using radios or smart phones to monitor forecasts, check road conditions and listen for emergency instructions.
Stock Up Early
One last step: after preparing your home HVAC system and formulating your emergency plan, make a point of putting together an emergency kit. If you wait until the last minute to stock up on essentials, you could find yourself facing anxious crowds and empty shelves as the storm closes in. Plan ahead and gather the following to be fully prepared for the wind and snow:
- Shelf-stable food and bottled water to last at least three days
- Snow shovel
- Sidewalk salt
- Battery-operated radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Warm winter gear including hats, gloves and scarves
- Pet and baby supplies, if needed
- Prescription medications
After taking action on all of the above, you should be fully prepared for rough winter weather. If you need help with your home winterization routine or want to be sure your HVAC system is in good shape before winter takes a turn for the worst, get in touch with a dependable home comfort technician in your area.