Weathering Winter Storms

Nov 8, 2011

By Staff Writer State Farm™ Employee

Winterizing your home is one step to having a safe and comfortable winter. Another step is knowing what actions to take when a major winter storm is on its way.

Before the Storm

  • Stock a three-day supply of nonperishable food and three gallons of water for each person in your home.
  • Listen for weather alerts and updates on a battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
  • Prepare alternative heat sources such as a wood-burning fireplace or stove, or a space heater certified by an independent testing laboratory.
  • Purchase a generator.
  • Check batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke alarms.
  • Check that your fire extinguisher is full.
  • Know how to shut off water valves so that you can take action if a pipe bursts.
  • Cover sidewalks with sand, rock salt or non-clumping cat litter.
  • Bring pets indoors. Put horses and livestock in a protective shelter with food and water.
  • Gather supplies, including batteries, blankets, flashlights and a first-aid kit. The Red Cross suggests additional supplies here.

During the Storm

  • Stay inside. 
  • Listen for weather updates.
  • Eat regularly to give your body energy to produce heat.
  • Stay hydrated. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. (Caffeine accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia, and alcohol slows circulation; both cause dehydration.)
  • Lower the temperature inside your home, and close off the furnace registers to unoccupied rooms (and then close their doors) to conserve heat.
  • Allow a slow drip from hot and cold faucets to relieve pressure that may build up inside pipes and cause them to burst.
  • Use flashlights instead of candles if you’re without electricity.
  • Do not use a generator inside your home or close to your home’s exterior.
  • Plug space heaters directly into wall sockets and unplug them when they’re not in use. Keep space heaters 3 feet away from flammable materials. Be sure to properly ventilate alternative heaters to avoid fires and carbon monoxide poisoning <link to: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.htm>.
  • Periodically clear snow from around exhaust pipes or vents outside your home.

After the Storm

  • Check on neighbors, friends and loved ones to make sure they are ok.
  • Move to a public shelter if you’re without power or heat. Avoid travel until roads are clear. If you must go out, use public transportation. The Red Cross reports around 70 percent of deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.
  • Wear proper clothing—a hat, gloves and warm layers of loose, lightweight clothing—when clearing sidewalks and driveways.

If your home or property is damaged in a winter storm, contact your State Farm® agent.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.

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