Whether it’s an ice storm or snow storm – Here’s how you can make sure you’re ready
Canadian winters come with many surprises. From snowstorms to ice storms, it’s important to be prepared for any type of severe winter condition. Similar to a camping survival kit, every family should have a winter kit for their home. Here are some things you should consider:
Trim trees and clear debris: Consider trimming back tree branches that hang close to your home and clearing any debris that may be tossed around during a storm – this will help to reduce the risk of injury and potential property damage.
Book a professional furnace inspection: Schedule a furnace check-up before temperatures drop to help ensure your furnace is working properly and avoid long service wait times during the coldest months of the year. By booking a fall service appointment, you can help ensure your furnace is ready to go when you need it the most and do so at a time that is quick and convenient for you rather than competing with other homeowners during the busy season. Add a furnace tune-up and maintenance appointment to your fall checklist – along with checking your fire alarms, replacing batteries and turning back the clock.
Avoid the freeze: Water molecules expand when they freeze putting tremendous pressure on pipes and other water lines which can cause them to burst. Reliance™ recommends the following tips to avoid this costly inconvenience:
- Drip your faucets: Drip both hot and cold water at faucets in kitchen and bathroom. While this will do little to prevent pipes from freezing, it could help prevent frozen pipes from bursting as the small flow reduces the amount of pressure placed on pipes. This helps them stay intact during harsh winter conditions.
- Seal it: Seal leaks located near plumbing lines to prevent cold air and condensation from creeping in.
- Monitor temperature: Prevent temperatures inside the home (especially near pipes and water lines) from dropping below freezing. Direct warm air to areas of the house that are colder or located near exterior walls.
Here are some other ways you can prepare for a winter storm:
Purchase batteries and flashlights
In case of a blackout – you’d want to see your way around the house. With the days being shorter in the winter time, it gets dark out quickly. And while hand-cranked flashlights are helpful to have, it’s still a good idea to have battery-powered ones as well. Each member of the household should have their own flashlight as well as extra batteries. Be sure to keep these in an easily accessible place.
Stock up on cozy blankets and warm clothing
Each member of the household should have their own blanket as homes can get very cold very quickly should the power go out. Have thick socks, hooded sweatshirts and other layers and mittens on hand to stay extra warm during a storm.
Keep some non-perishable food in your cupboards
It’s important to have canned foods such as soups, vegetables, powdered food and grains stocked in your home. Dry cereals and protein bars also make great food options that don’t require cooking. You should have enough food to last your family at least three to four days. Keep in mind that these food items also have best-before dates, so make sure to check foods to keep your stock fresh. Don’t forget to have a manual can opener available as well.
And remember to keep some extra food on hand for your pets too.
Buy a power pack and cordless phone charger
Make sure you have a portable power source to keep your devices charged and to run a light or radio if needed. You should also get a cordless cellphone charger. This will allow you to have a means of communication if the power or phone lines are down.
Fill containers with water
This is very important if there is a chance of your pipes freezing in bad weather. Fill some containers for drinking water (or have bottled water in your emergency kit) and don’t forget to set aside a few containers of water for other tasks such as hand washing.
Keep an ice chest or cooler on hand
This may sound funny, but when the power goes out during the wintertime some things can actually start to warm up such as the contents of your refrigerator and freezer. In a power outage, food can stay cold for a certain period of time in a full fridge or freezer if you don’t open the doors, but you can also place your food in an ice chest or cooler and put it out in the snow. This will help ensure food doesn’t go bad.
Get a portable stove or grill
Should you find yourself without power during a winter storm you may want a way to warm up or even cook food. Investing in a gas-powered stove that is rated for indoor use is an option. Make sure there is proper ventilation and you have enough cooking fuel on hand and follow all safety instructions. Never use charcoal or gas barbecues or camping heating equipment indoors. They give off carbon monoxide which can be life-threatening.
Get candles and holders
If the flashlight batteries run out, you can use candles to provide some light and heat. Make sure to put the candles in safe holders and never leave them unattended. And don’t forget to have lighters or matches in your emergency kit.