For many people, winter storm preparation begins the second the storm knocks out the power. A flood of questions hit you as you rummage through that drawer you swore you saw a flashlight in last week: “Is there gas in the snowblower? Where did we store our portable space heaters? When was the last time we started the generator?” We’ve all been there. That’s why we’ve created list of 10 things to get ready before the big storm hits.
1. Prepare your generator – Generators spend a lot of time sitting around and doing nothing. Fuel left sitting in an engine can go bad and gum up the carburetor. Chances are you haven’t touched your generator since the last storm and if that has been a while it is a good idea to give the generator engine a tune up.
2. Prepare your snowblower (and have shovels handy) – Snowblowers also have a lot of down time. Inspect your snowblower’s carburetor and filters, replace the fuel if it has sat for a while and start it up to make sure it runs properly. Also, make sure you have shovels ready in case something goes wrong with the snowblower (or if you are feeling lazy and decide to make your kids clear the snow).
3. Pull out the space heaters and extra blankets– Battery-powered space heaters are handy in a power outage in case the generator gives out. Using space heaters and thick blankets will keep you warm while you wait for the power to return. However, make sure to keep the heaters away from anything flammable. Monitor children while the heaters are on. Space heaters are vulnerable to tipping over, due to their compact sizes.
4. Have non-perishable food and bottled water available – Having non-perishables available is always a good idea, in case of an extended power outage. Granola bars, cereal, peanut butter and crackers, and canned fruit are good examples. Also make sure to have plenty of bottled water in the event that your pipes freeze. To prevent this, turn on your faucets.
5. Have entertainment ready – Nothing is worse than sitting in the middle of a power outage with nothing to do. Have books and card and board games ready to keep the whole family entertained. Now might be a good time to finally let the kids build that blanket fort in the living room. It keeps them entertained and its central location makes it easier to keep them warm.
6. Know where your flashlights are and check the batteries regularly – This is obvious, but is also continually overlooked. Keep all flashlights in one place and make sure everyone knows where they are stored. Check the batteries regularly and keep extra batteries on hand. Also keep the matches in the same location, in case you need to light candles.
Bonus tip! Charge your phone before the storm hits and no matter how much you want to check Twitter during a power outage, resist the urge. You may need to phone for more important reasons later on.
Stay safe out there!