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Homeowner How To: Blizzard Preparedness for the Home

Written by Carrie B.  |  09. February 2013

While winter storms with excessive snowfall are rather rare on Long Island, they do seem to be happening more often. Preparing your home and family for weather emergencies like this is essential to keeping your home and family safe and sound.

Keeping up with routine maintenance on your home is critical to prepare for extreme weather events. Snow can get very heavy and create a lot of pressure on your home’s structure and roof. Melting snow will quickly find any weak spots in your roofing or siding so look out for leaks.

In advance of a winter storm, be sure to keep up with routine maintenance on your home by checking your roofing, insulation and walls for signs of leaks and damages and prevent flood damage before it happens. Make sure your carbon monoxide detector battery is new and is working properly to prevent CO poisoning.

Any outdoor furniture, loose outdoor items and planters should be tucked away either in a storage shed or inside the garage. If you don’t have somewhere to store them, make sure to stack them and tie down these items. Household items can become dangerous when high winds are involved. Prevent damages to your home by taking the time to stash them safely.

During or after a storm, removing heavy snow from your roof can help you avoid damages or possible injuries from the house becoming inundated and the roof collapsing, so be prepared to clear heavy snowfall in excess of 12” deep.

Everyone in the home should know how to shut off water and other utilities in case the need arises or it becomes necessary to do so. A very common occurrence is the loss of power, so a small generator is always a good investment to keep your home warm and prevent further damage from frozen pipes and loss of power. Keep wood on hand, and inside your garage or home, if you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace so you can avoid leaving the house to keep warm if power loss does occur.

Of course, keeping your family safe and warm is only half the battle…you should be prepared to be housebound and have enough food and water (including water for sanitation) to keep you for 72 hours in case you and your family become trapped.  Keep at least three days of essential prescription medications as well as flashlights and battery-operated lanterns on hand.

Hypothermia can be deadly. Symptoms of hypothermia include exhaustion, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence and uncontrollable shivering. Make sure your neighbors know if you have any special needs and keep a battery-operated radio on hand so you can tune into your local stations to get weather updates and critical advisories.Be safe and have fun! Are you snowed in? Here are some great ideas for snowed in activities for you and your family to enjoy.

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