How to Defend Against Extreme Cold, Winter Power Outages
If you’ve ever been in a blizzard, it’s unlikely you’ll forget the experience any time soon.
With vicious winds, thick coats of ice, and frostbite-inducing temperatures, it can not only make travel unsafe, but even staying indoors can become dangerous if you aren’t prepared.
So before the storm strikes, knocking out your power and making roads impassable, prepare for subzero temps and no electricity with these tips:
Before the storm:
- Make a trip to the store for all your essentials: Water, food, batteries and prescription medicines, for starters.
- Gather blankets, warm clothing, flashlights, an emergency radio, your first-aid kit and any other essentials in one spot. This winter weather checklist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has additional items to include.
- If possible, warm your home prior to the potential outage. Remember, while most furnaces run on natural gas, parts of it run on electricity. This means most furnaces stop working when you lose power.
- Make sure you have enough gasoline to power your portable generator and snow blower. Standby generators are powered by natural gas or liquid propane.
- Ensure your generator (standby or portable) and snow blower are in working condition.
- Organize necessary power cords needed to run key appliances if using a portable generator.
- If your windows have a draft, use plastic window insulators to decrease the amount of cold air creeping in the cracks.
- Check seals on your doors, and use draft blockers as necessary.
After the Storm:
- Gather everyone in the home in a central location. Make sure no one was hurt (for instance, did someone fall?).
- Establish temporary lighting. Flashlights and battery-powered lanterns are the safest choice to reduce risk of fire. If you have a standby generator connected to your home’s electrical system, it should turn on immediately.
- Use your snow blower and shovel to clear a spot for your portable generator.
- If using a portable, gas-powered generator, such as the Elite Series from Briggs & Stratton, put it in a well-ventilated spot outside your home. This is necessary to avoid lethal carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Preferably, place the generator where it’s shielded from high winds and snow drifts. Read more on generator safety, here.
- Clear a path from your home to the street using your snow blower to allow for emergency personnel to reach your home if needed.
Hopefully, with these tips in your back pocket, you’ll tackle blizzards with ease, keeping your family safe and warm this winter. And remember, a few minutes of prep now, can save hours of stress when the storm warnings fly.