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A winter storm can severely impact individuals and entire communities. From power outages lasting for days to the numerous health risks a storm can cause (e.g., frostbite), dangers seemingly loom at every icy corner. Here’s a quick rundown of the 14 steps you can take to brace yourself (and your family) for a brutal winter storm.

1. Keep Your Food Pantry Stocked
Going grocery shopping during a winter storm isn’t the most prudent idea. And even if you do, there’s no guarantee that stores will be open. So, keep everything you need in your pantry (primarily non-perishable items).

2. Stock Up on Bottled Water
During a winter storm, your pipes might freeze. To avoid losing access to tap (and drinking) water, buy at least three gallons per household member.

3. Fill Your Prescriptions
Play it safe and have your prescription medication filled for a week. This eliminates the need to head to the pharmacy on icy roads.

4. Build an Emergency Kit
First-aid items, a battery-powered radio with batteries, non-prescription medications, a whistle, blankets, and matches are just some of the items that should make it into this kit.

5. Ready Yourself to Fight the Snow and Ice
Stock up on ice melt products before they run out. Also, make sure your snow shovel is up for the challenge before having to use it.

6. Prepare for a Power Blackout

At a minimum, charge your mobile phone before the storm hits and have flashlights ready. Ideally, you should install a generator before the winter storm season even arrives to ensure a reliable backup power source.

7. Devise an Emergency Communication Plan
Even if you charge your phone beforehand, you might not have cell reception once the storm strikes. So, make sure to discuss and arrange communication with your family during the storm.

8. Protect Your Pipes
If you have any pipes prone to freezing, insulate them before the winter season begins.

9. Seal Your Windows and Doors
Insulation kits and weather stripping will be your best friends during the winter storm.

10. Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
A power outage during the winter storm might lead to using alternative heating sources like an oven which, in turn, can lead to the risk of carbon monoxide exposure. That’s why a functioning carbon monoxide detector is a must.

11. Prepare Your Yard
Ensure no large tree limbs or the tree itself can fall on your home (or the surrounding power lines) during a storm.

12. Winter-Proof Your Car
Tune up your car for winter before the season begins to ensure it remains your loyal companion throughout. This includes checking your antifreeze levels, heaters, and battery.

13. Stay Informed
Staying informed during a winter storm is paramount for your (and your family’s) safety. This includes everything from listening to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio to knowing how to treat conditions like frostbite or hypothermia.

14. Be Careful
Stay indoors, avoid the roads, and calm yourself as much as possible. While the situation might seem dire, it will eventually pass.

Key Takeaways:

  • Make sure that your pantry is stocked with food that doesn’t spoil such as crackers and canned goods.
  • Buy bottled water in case your pipes freeze and therefore you don’t have any access to the tap.
  • Build an emergency kit by putting together a radio, nonprescription medications and some flashlights.

“That’s why, with winter storm season in full swing, it’s important to know how to keep yourself, your family and your home safe.”

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