As cold weather descends upon us, it's time to winterize and prepare for the unexpected. Frozen pipes, getting stuck in snow, and power failures are just some of the possible difficulties we may find ourselves experiencing.
Last weekend we went without water for two days - not from frozen pipes, but from a glitch with our well pump. So on Saturday, we woke up to no water - without warning. No time to fill bathtubs, no time to prepare! We had some water stored, but not the seven gallons of water we ended up using each day. And that was being extremely frugal with our water for just two of us!
Tip #1 - Store Water and Food
So, needless to say, my first tip is to store up some water. All of it doesn't need to be purchased water. You can fill up cleaned out milk containers for flushing toilets (it takes about a gallon). And of course, you'll need clean water for drinking, bathing and other hygiene needs.
Tip #2 - Stay Connected with the World
If your electricity goes out, you'll want to make sure you can connect with others.
- Have a land line phone which doesn't require electricity to recharge.
- Get a car charger for your cell phone.
- Purchase a NOAA radio that includes a hand crank which can charge your cell phone and charge the radio. NOAA radios allow you to listen to local weather and emergency warnings on select stations. Keep batteries on hand for that radio.
- Designate a person whom your family members can contact if they can't contact one another. That person can be a liaison between all of you.
Tip #3 - Winterize Your Car
Put a blanket and an extra coat in your car in case you get stranded in cold weather.
Keep some snacks and water in your car. Empty a little water from your water bottles so they don't explode if they freeze.
Keep your car charger for your cell phone handy and accessible.
Have something you can put under your tires if you're stuck in ice or snow. Kitty litter, a carpet remnant, for example. I have reusable grocery bags in my car which should do just fine. Not a fan of kitty litter smell.
Stash some hand and toe warmers in your car. These little packets used by skiers, hikers and hunters are available at Walmart and sports stores and last for hours.
So, as winter approaches, do a little prep work to insure your safety and comfort should the unexpected occur. It will give you peace of mind knowing you're prepared.
More on safety in winter:
Getting Organized for Winter - Your Chimney
Organizing for a Power Failure - Are You Prepared?
National Preparedness Month - Emergency Supplies