Posted by: J. G. Elliott Insurance Centers | February 17, 2015

Winter Storms – Home Preparedness

Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, ice, sleet and freezing rain. A primary concern is that winter storms can knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. It is important to prepare your home for winter storms.

Here are some tips to help prepare for a winter storm:
Add these supplies to your emergency kit:
> Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
> Sufficient heating fuel
> Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm
* Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supply kit in your vehicle.
* Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

Winterize Your Home
* Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
* Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
* Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
* All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
* Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
* Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
* Insulate your home by installing storm windows.

During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
* Stay indoors during the storm.
* Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
* Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
* Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.
* Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads; and avoid back road shortcuts.
* Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
* Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
* If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

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