Winter is here which means it’s time to prepare for the season of snow storms! Whether we get an inch of snow fall or several feet (remember the snowpocalypse of 2009?), it is better to be prepared than to be snowed in or stuck in your home without snow supplies, food or other necessities you may need to survive. We have put together a snowstorm preparation guide so you are ready for any snow storm that may come your way. In this snow storm guide we will cover preparing the outside of your home, your vehicle and the inside of your home.
Snow Prep Outside of Your Home
There are a few smart steps you can take to make handling an incoming snow storm easier. For starters, purchase rock salt or a similar alternative. When ice comes into contact with rock salt a chemical reaction takes place which lowers the freezing point of the ice. This in turn leads ice to melt faster. It is a good idea to throw a thin layer of salt onto your walkways, steps, driveway and sidewalk.
Pro-Tip: While rock salt is more effective — if the snow storm has already begun — table salt has a similar melting effect on ice, and chances are you have some in your home.
While there are cheaper options when it comes to shovels, remember that a better quality shovel is more reliable. Some of us at the Parrish Law Firm have experienced shovels bending on us or the shovel head breaking off when we have tried to move a heavier chunk of snow or ice. Metal shovels are typically more reliable and less likely to crack as opposed to plastic shovel alternatives.
Finally, stay dry! If you go outside and get wet, change your clothes to avoid complications such as frostbite or hypothermia, especially if your heating is not working.
Preparing Your Vehicles
The obvious step to avoid having your vehicle covered in snow is to park it in your garage; however, not everyone has that luxury. Step one is to get your windshield wipers and fluid levels checked. The last thing you will need after a storm is wipers that do not perform well. Having your vehicle’s fluid topped off will help you keep your windshield clean while you drive on salt coated roads during the days following the snow storm. We suggest pulling your windshield wipers up prior to the storm so they are not frozen onto the vehicle or covered in snow. Keep in mind that windshield wipers are not very strong, so we suggest using them to clean your windshield when there is no ice present and less than an inch of snow. Before cleaning your vehicle after a storm, we suggest turning your car on and putting the defrost on high for 15 to 20 minutes. This will make cleaning snow off of your car much easier.
The next step is to have your tires tread checked and to have them rotated if necessary. You will want to make sure your tire treads are in good condition as worn out tires can lead to your vehicle slipping in snowy or icy conditions. Make sure your gas tank is full to avoid your fuel line freezing and possibly cracking when you turn your vehicle on after the storm.
Pro-Tip: Cover your front and rear windshields with towels if you want to avoid snow or ice sticking to them. This is also an effective way to prevent frost from building on your windshields throughout the winter.
Pro-Tip #2: When cleaning your vehicle after a snow storm, make sure to clean up the top of your car as well. This will prevent snow or ice from sliding off of your vehicle, which can potentially hit cars that are behind you on the road.
Preparation Within Your Home
Get your heater checked thoroughly early in the winter to ensure ice is not going to build onto it, which can cause it to work less effectively or can lead your heater to breaking. Look into investing in heating alternatives in case your home’s heater stops working. It is also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your home in case your heater alternative catches fire. A carbon monoxide detector is highly recommended if using alternate heating sources as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases when using other heating sources.
A “loss of power” kit is smart to keep in your home. This kit should include several flashlights, candles and a plethora of batteries. Keep a portable charger for your cell phone as well as you never know when you may need to call upon emergency services. In terms of food and drink, 3 gallons of water per person is recommended as well as dry foods that do not require cooking or refrigeration. A first aid kit is great to keep in your home whether or not a snow storm is impending. Keep faucets dripping every so slightly if the outside temperature is lower than 25 degrees. This may slightly increase your water bill, but will help prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting. Every adult in your home should also know how to shut off the main water valve in the situation that your pipes burst. Finally, a power generator may be well worth the investment if you live in an area that experiences a high number of storms.
If your power goes out put frozen food outside in the snow and place your refrigerated food in the garage as these spaces will likely be colder than your fridge after 24 hours or so.
While we continue to hope for a white Christmas, it is also important to be well prepared as unpredictable storms often arise during the winter time. We hope these tips will help keep you and your family well prepared for anything from smaller snow storms to a snowpocalypse part 2!