Winter in the Northeast comes with the inevitable snow events. Sometimes accumulations are minor, and sometimes they are flat-out colossal. This list should help keep you safe and sane by making sure you have all of your bases covered and ready.
Base # 1: The Great White Outdoors
If you have a snowblower, make sure it is gassed up and easily accessible. You don’t want to have to unpack the entire garage or storage shed to get to it. Have your shovels ready to go. Get a bag or two or rock salt, and remember kitty litter well do in a pinch for some traction.
Temperatures below freezing (32°F or 0 C) and slightly higher temperatures accompanied by wind chill effects are risk factors for hypothermia and frostbite. As well as dressing in multiple layers, be sure to have a pair of gloves and a hat on before you venture outside. The body loses a lot of heat through your head!
Dehydration can contribute to hypothermia. Drink plenty of water and drinks with electrolytes if you will be active for a long period of time. Avoid drinks with alcohol and caffeine.
And finally, take breaks as needed to warm yourself and rest. Fatigue can contribute to hypothermia, so be aware of your energy level.
And finally, if you think you will be outside for any extended period of time, try to have a buddy with you to help cut the work in half and to keep you safe.
Base #2: The Heart of Your Home – The Kitchen!
Besides the basics; bread, milk and eggs, make sure you have easy to eat foods in case of a power outage, such as canned soups, tuna, lunch meat, cereal, and fruit. If you’re lucky enough to still have power during a major storm, have some fun in the kitchen with your family. It’s a great time to experiment with cookie recipes! And who would say no to some homemade hot chocolate?
And if you are a hearty eater, whip up a nice lasagna or cheesy, meaty casserole. This will be warm and comforting when coming in from the cold.
And don’t forget the pets when stocking up!
Base #3: Entertainment
If you do lose your power, and can’t binge watch your favorite Netflix shows, pick up that book you have been meaning to read. Make a nest of blankets on the couch and get comfortable. Be sure to have flashlights and candles nearby though in case you become so engrossed in what you are reading that you don’t notice when the natural light begins to turn to dark.
If you’re feeling ambitious, this would be a great time to clean out a closet or reorganize a room that you have been putting off. If you have children at home that are suffering withdrawal from their electronics, pull out those board games that have been gathering dust and have quality bonding time. Maybe their eyes will light up without having to be “plugged in”!
Base #4: Staying Safe
With the uncertainty of how long any storm event may last, preparation is key to safety. Don’t wait until dark to have any items you may need available to you. If you keep extra items in your shed or an unattached garage, bring them into your home before you need them.
You will need:
- Lighting: Flashlights, batteries, candles, lanterns, matches and lighters.
- Communication: Be sure to have all cell phones and tablets fully charged, but turn off as many of them as you can until they need to be pressed into service as needed. Without power, they should be reserved for emergency communication or to find local information about what is going on in your area. You should also have a portable radio, again with fresh batteries, handy.
- Warmth: Have extra blankets, comforters and throws within reach. It is also a great time to dig out those sleeping bags.
- Water: If your pipes are likely to freeze you will need plenty of bottled water on hand, for you and your pets.
And let’s not forget to bring the family pets in or to create a warm and dry place for them to shelter in the storm if that is not possible.