November 22, 2017 | Home Care

Know what to do before and during a winter storm to stay safe and protect your home.

Long-time residents of the country's colder regions likely know the drill when it comes to winter storms. But if you've recently relocated or experiencing your first winter in a new home, HomeAdvisor offers tips and advice to make sure you and your home are well prepared.

The winter season brings with it colder weather and depending on the area of the country can also mean sever winter storms. Storms during the winter can range from moderate snow to a blizzard lasting multiple days with many storms being accompanied by freezing rain, sleet, ice, and very low temperatures. A big concern during winter storms is their ability to cause power outages and trouble traveling, essentially immobilizing entire regions. Keeping your home prepared for winter storms is important for anyone who lives in areas that experience severe weather.

Preparing for a Winter Storm

There are several things you can do to prepare your home for a winter storm before the bad weather approaches. Make sure you have snow shovels and other necessary equipment to remove snow. It is also a good idea to keep an adequate amount of rock salt on hand to melt ice on steps, walkways, and driveways. There are several different types of environmentally safe rock salt, and also types that are safe for pets. During a really bad storm, it can be impossible to travel so it is important to make sure you have enough heating fuel. In the event that you lose power, it is a good idea to have fire wood for wood burning stoves or fireplaces, or a generator and fuel.

When preparing for a winter storm, you should also ensure that there are enough blankets and warm clothes in the home in the case of a power outage. It is also important to have enough food and water in the home in the event that the storm is bad enough to prevent venturing outside. Items such as extra batteries, flashlights, candles, matches, and more are good to have on hand. You can even create an emergency storm kit so everything you may need is in one easy to reach place.

Winterizing Your Home Before a Winter Storm

If you live in an area with severe winter weather, you home should be winterized sometime during the fall season. There are many things that can be done to prepare your home for winter including insulating attics, basements, and walls to help heat your home more efficiently, and putting plastic over windows. Heating systems should also be cleaned and serviced each year before they are used to ensure they are safe and working properly. Any drafty areas should be caulked, or otherwise repaired and the roof should be checked to ensure that there are no leaks and it will be able to bear the weight of the snow.

Before cold weather approaches, you should also spend some time cleaning gutters and trimming any tree branches that could fall on your home in the event of a bad storm. Pipes should also be insulated to prevent them from freezing which can result in burst pipes and flooding.

What To Do During a Winter Storm

During winter storms it is important to stay warm, and also avoid overexertion. Ideally you will be able to stay indoors during a storm but if you must go outside it is important to walk cautiously to avoid slipping and falling on ice. Shoveling snow can lead to overexertion so it is important to take breaks, and try to avoid lifting heavy piles of snow. If you are outside shoveling and trying to clear away snow during a storm, you need to stay warm and dry to prevent frostbite. Change wet clothing and be able to recognize the signs of frostbite, such as loss of feeling, and pale or white extremities. During a storm, you should avoid driving but if necessary it is important to do so very cautiously. Also make sure that you car has an emergency kit that includes a shovel, food, water, blanket, and other important items.

Severe winter storms can take time to recover from and if a power outage occurs that lasts multiple days it may even be necessary to seek out a public shelter. If you take the time to prepare your home for winter storms and ensure that your family knows what to do to stay safe, you will be prepared to weather the storm.

Article originally appeared on HomeAdvisor.

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