Winter Storm Preparation
Winter storm 2021 left 70% of Texans without electricity with nearly 4.5 million homes and businesses without power causing an estimated $295 billion in damage across the state. If the storm taught us anything, it was to prepared for the worst. Here are some tips to help you prepare before 2022 potentially hits.
-Consider purchasing a propane cook stove. While you can’t cook with them indoors due to the carbon monoxide produced, they are a great alternative for when the power goes out to cook regular meals and can be used throughout the year for camping. They are also small enough store in a closet.
-Make sure to have at least one gallon of water per person, per day.
-Always have backup cash. While credit and debit machines may be down, most places can still take cash payment for essential items.
-Cell phone chargers and back up battery packs. Backup battery packs have become affordable and are great for an emergency to make sure you always have emergency power and outreach.
-Baby wipes. During any sort of power outage, they are the perfect wipe down in a pinch that’s also gentle on skin
-Kitty litter, sand or rock salt. Another multiuse item is kitty litter and sand. Salt isn’t always readily available in the south but kitty litter is usually easily obtainable and great for creating safe, walkable pathways through ice covered sidewalks.
-A 7-day supply of medications- While pharmacies may be open, roads may be too treacherous to obtain them or mail and other delivery services may be unavailable.
-Make sure to have extra pet food and supplies. If you’re cold, so are your pets. Make sure to keep old towels or extra blankets to keep pets warm but also stock up on food, water and medication, just like you would do for yourself along with a leash or pet carrier in case of potential relocation or evacuation.
-Extra coats, blankets, sweats or any sort of clothing that can be layered for everyone in the home. Layering helps maintain your core body temperature and adds an extra, easily removable layer from the snow and wind.
-Emergency contact information written down for each family member along with copies of health insurance information. If separated, having individual copies makes easy access for emergency personnel and you aren’t reliant on electricity for access.
- Emergency food supply. While a 3-day supply is normally recommended, winter storm 2021 taught us that a week may be necessary. Things like instant potatoes can be made with warm water, meals ready to eat are high in calorie and keep a long shelf life with no cooking necessary or canned items may be eaten without even needing to warm them. Things like tuna fish in a pouch are higher in protein and easy to carry in an evacuation.
-Extra batteries. Always make sure to have extra batteries for a portable radio, lights and lanterns.
-Lights and lanterns. Candles should be a last resort when the electricity goes out because of a fire hazard. Lights and lanterns are also more effective and safer to check breaker boxes in case of an electrical malfunction when electricity is restored.
-Extra hygiene and sanitation supplies. Things like no rinse body wash, dry shampoo and baby wipes are all great options to keep on hand with no electricity or water available.
-Fire pit or alternate heating method. Fire pits aren’t just great for the summer backyard entertaining but can also multitask for outdoor eating and heating for a winter storm. Make sure to get a model with a grill and rated for cooking to prevent damage and to only use it outdoors and at least 6 feet from anything flammable.
-Make sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected now before winter weather occurs and should be done yearly.
-Make sure to have an emergency supply kit along with emergency contact information in your vehicle. While Texans usually get a warning, winter weather can strike at an instant and Texas roads are not made for it, leaving you potentially stranded until emergency personnel can respond.
-If traveling becomes necessary during or right before a winter storm, make sure to have a full gas tank. Traffic 48 hours before winter storm 2021 became highly congested and extended even the shortest trips, last winter.
-Check the caulking around windows and doors and keep extra towels to put at the base of doors. It’s a simple way to make sure your home stays well insulated and should be checked once a year for basic home maintenance.
-Keep a roll of plastic for emergency insulation. Placing it over windows can help keep cold air out without breaking the bank.
-Molasses in water for outdoor animals- A small amount in a dog’s bowl can prevent water from freezing, just make sure to avoid artificial sweeteners. ½ a cup of molasses added to 50 gallons of water can also help prevent sheet ice from forming in water for larger animals like horses and cattle. The key is to mix it with a few gallons of warm water. The sweetness encourages them to drink water during colder weather and makes fiber in feed more digestible while preventing colic. As always, make sure to check with your veterinarian before adding any supplements to food or water for your animals.
Need emergency water restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of North Central Austin 512-579-0189