Snowstorm preparation for families can be the difference between staying at home or staying in a disaster shelter. It's important for families to prepare for winter weather well ahead of a snowstorm.
Snowstorm preparation for families requires a little more planning than for individuals or couples. Any time there are children or elderly involved it’s even more important to prepare for a winter storm as early as possible.
Although these tips will help, no one article can answer all of your questions. By researching as much as you can, you will be able to create a disaster plan that fits your family.
When to begin:
Snowstorm preparation tips for families means getting ready before the snowflakes fall. Weather reports usually give us a few days to prepare. Don’t wait until the last minute.
Who are you taking care of?
Snowstorm preparation for families includes taking stock of the situation. You need to determine who will be in your home, their ages and the ability level of each person. Take mobility issues, medication needs and the ability of each to follow directions into consideration.
Examine at what you have on hand. Compare it to what you think you might need. Does Grandma need refills on her medicines? Do you have enough diapers and formula for at least three days? Snowstorm preparation tips for families include filling in any gaps.
Food and water
Nonperishable food is usually good for several months and may be usable for up to a year or more. Buying a few things at a time during the winter may be helpful.
Be sure to choose things that won’t need to be cooked. If allergies are not an issue some choices might be peanut butter, crackers, single serving boxes of dry cereal, canned milk, packages of tuna or other staples. Follow food safety precautions.
Water recommendations from FEMA or the Red Cross are guidelines. Some families may need more water than suggested. When deciding how much to buy always go for more than you think you’ll need. You can always return it to the store or donate it to a homeless shelter later.
A gas grill or camp stove can be helpful. Be sure that you know how to use it and have plenty of outdoor room to do so. People tend to be less careful during a crisis than they otherwise might be. Take care to keep all items out of the reach of kids, elderly and pets.
Prepare to use alternate heat.
You probably won’t be able to heat the entire house if the power goes out. Don’t just determine what back up heat source you are going to use. Decide which rooms you will try to heat and make arrangements to close off any that you won’t use. You may need to move furniture ahead of time and take up any throw rugs that can cause someone to trip.
Assemble a disaster kit
Snowstorm preparation tips for families include putting a disaster kit together. Flashlights and batter operated camp lanterns are safer to use than candles. Put them together in a brightly colored box. Add a radio and more batteries than you think you’ll need. It may be helpful to toss in a toy or two. FEMA has suggestions at this link.
Many articles recommend filling the bathtub with water in advance of the storm so you can flush the commode. Snowstorm preparation tips for families include deciding if this tactic is safe for everyone in your household.
You don’t want to risk having anyone fall in a tub full of water. Alternatives may be to use five gallon buckets with tight lids or storage tubs with lids that you can secure. Some families may find it helpful to buy extra gallon sized bottles of water with secure lids.
A snowstorm preparation tip for families include making sure that there is a full tank of gas in the car. Children and elderly are more prone to illness and falls. You will want to be sure that you can leave if you need to do so.
Create an evacuation bag that contains documents, medicines.
Put copies off all of your important papers in a large zip sealed bag. Do the same with medications for each member of your family.
Snowstorm preparation tips for families means also adding comfort items, a book, flashlight and extra set of batteries. Put all of these in a brightly colored cloth bag and hang on a hook by the door. You want it to be easy to reach in case a quick evacuation is needed but out of the reach of children.
Keep your cell phone plugged in as much as possible. You may need to call for help if the power goes out and you’ll need plenty of battery time to do so.
Wash your comforters, towels and clothes ahead of the winter weather. Snowstorm preparation tips for families include having extra clothing and additional blankets on hand. You will need extras of all these in case the power goes out.