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Walking in a winter wonderland sounds idyllic, but the reality of a winter storm can easily go from playtime to problematic. A severe blizzard poses a number of conundrums, from power outages to mounting piles of snow. Our handy solutions from “Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook” will keep your home and family safe from the storm.
Kit Out Your Emergency Supply Stores
Have a handy household emergency kit on hand to solve storm-related issues. Your basic set should already include first-aid essentials, bedding, adequate food and water for approximately three days per each family member, and clothing for each family member. Those who live in winter-storm-prone regions should equip their emergency kit with extra blankets, an ice scraper, an ice brush, and warm layers including gloves, coats, hats, and snow boots for each member of the household.
Furthermore, furnish your kit with everyday essentials such as cups, plates, and cutlery for meals, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Including a fully stocked tool kit is also advisable.
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Your pet requires protection, too. Build a preparedness kit for your animal, including food, water, collars, toys, bedding, and any necessary medication, similar to the kit you’ve fashioned for your family.
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Create a laminated contact list for family doctors, should they be called upon for service in case of emergency, and include the list in your emergency bag. If any family member is afflicted with a serious medical condition such as asthma or heart disease, create a detailed outline of information about the malady for your kit so proper treatment can be given even if your family physician is unavailable.
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Power outages may provide an excellent opportunity for mood lighting, but they do necessitate proper preparation. Keep one flashlight in each room of your home, and periodically check on battery life to ensure your equipment is functional. Attach one additional flashlight to your fuse box to illuminate any troubleshooting efforts should the power fail. Velcro, double-sided tape, or magnets can be used to affix your flashlight to the box depending upon the material of the device.
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Exterior home maintenance is essential for winter storm endurance, especially when a surplus of snow begins to aggregate. If you do not have a proper snow shovel on hand, purchase one with a small face to limit the weight of each load. Instead of lifting snow, scoop each shovelful and push it sideways to prevent injury and overexertion. Be sure to bend from the knees to support the motion, lest you place any undue pressure on your back. Additionally, carefully shovel away especially deep snow piles layer by layer instead of attempting to lift away the entirety all at once.
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Regardless of your roof’s sturdiness, the accumulation of heavy snowfall can cause wood fibers in your rafters to bend. Address excess snow on your rooftop by brushing off the powder and ice with a snow rake.
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Your automobile must be at the ready should you require immediate transportation. Ensure a safe journey by winterizing your vehicle at the nearest auto body with snow tires, strong windshield wipers, and adequate antifreeze.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio provides detailed and serviceable information regarding daily meteorological conditions. It is important to understand the status updates given by your local station. A winter-storm watch announcement indicates that local weather conditions may lead to a winter storm. A winter-storm warning signals the approach of a storm to your region. Finally, a blizzard warning means that a formidable mix of wind-driven snow, strong gusts, and dangerous wind-chill conditions can be expected in your region. Listen carefully to broadcast updates, and prepare accordingly.